Ohio earned lowest grade nationally for transparent and inclusive process
COLUMBUS OH — Today, Common Cause, the leading anti-gerrymandering group, published a report grading the redistricting process in all 50 states from the view of the community. The comprehensive report evaluates public access, outreach, and education in each state based on an analysis of more than 120 detailed surveys and more than 60 interviews.
Ohio earned the lowest grade in the nation: an F. The report found Ohio’s hyperpartisanship has routinely gotten in the way of producing maps reflective of the state’s voting patterns and demographics. Throughout the mapmaking process, the Ohio Supreme Court struck down state legislative maps five times and the congressional map twice because of partisan gerrymandering. Despite this, GOP leaders made few positive changes, instead running out the clock and forcing Ohioans to vote using unfair districts.
“After a close look at all 50 states, this report shows more community voices produce better maps,” said Dan Vicuña, Common Cause national redistricting director. “When everyone can meaningfully participate and have their input reflected in the final maps, that’s how we achieve fair elections voters can trust. We found voting districts that prioritize community interests are the gateway to elections that lead to strong schools, a fair economy, and affordable healthcare.”
Common Cause graded each state for its state level redistricting. Some states received a second grade for their local redistricting process in cases where advocates provided data. Each interview and survey asked participants about the accessibility of the process, the role of community groups, the organizing landscape, and the use of communities of interest criteria.
“Redistricting is successful when districts keep communities together,” said Catherine Turcer, executive director of Common Cause Ohio. “However, the Ohio Redistricting Commission which includes the governor, auditor, and secretary of state and legislative leaders prioritized partisan interests over the will of the people. They manipulated district lines, which is reflected in their grade. The good news? There is a solution to the backroom dealmaking: a transparent independent citizen redistricting commission — and we intend to win a reform that will put citizens in charge rather than politicians.”
Common Cause found the most powerful reform is independent, citizen-led commissions where voters—rather than elected officials—administer the process and hold the power of the pen to draw maps. Independent commissioners were found to be more interested in fair representation and community input— rather than electability or party control.
The report was authored by Common Cause, Fair Count, State Voices, and the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI).
The report was published in collaboration with the Coalition Hub for Advancing Redistricting and Grassroots Engagement (CHARGE), which includes Common Cause, Fair Count, League of Women Voters, Mia Familia Vota, NAACP, NCAI, State Voices, APIAVote, and the Center for Popular Democracy.
To view the report online, click here.