Today, the Ohio Senate Local Government and Elections Committee voted out a congressional redistricting plan (Senate Bill 258) along party lines. This bill appears to be heading to a vote of the full Senate later today.
The Committee began the hearing by accepting an amendment to the redistricting plan. Senator Rob McColley (R-Napoleon) provided an overview of the new districts to the Committee.
McColley initially announced plans to amend the bill at 8:12 pm on November 15. While the committee members were provided with a PDF last night, shapefiles, which are necessary for detailed analysis, were not provided to the public or minority Committee members until minutes before the hearing started.
“Announcing a new map late in the evening, just hours before a vote, with no opportunity or possibility even for in-depth analysis or discussion, is disrespectful,” said Catherine Turcer, executive director of Common Cause Ohio. “In 2018, Ohio voters overwhelmingly approved transparent and bipartisan mapmaking with meaningful opportunities for public input. Ohio voters deserve better.”
“Ohio lawmakers received a clear mandate from voters to create congressional districts that truly represent them – not the short-sighted interests of political operatives,” said Jen Miller, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio. “Unfortunately, Ohio’s leaders have served up a chaotic, partisan process and congressional districts that disrespect voters and the Ohio Constitution. Mapmakers should go back to the drawing board.”
In an analysis of five basic metrics using Dave’s Redistricting App, the updated Senate Bill 258 map proposal actually scores worse overall than the original proposal. While the updated map does improve its scores in Minority Representation and Splitting, it receives lower marks in Proportionality, Competitiveness, and Compactness. The number of Republican congressional seats closest to proportional is eight, and the number of Democratic congressional seats closest to proportional is seven. This proposed map assures a minimum of 11 Republican seats, with a most likely result of 12 Republican and 3 Democratic seats. Cuyahoga County and Hamilton County remain divided into three districts, and Cincinnati remains locked within a clearly gerrymandered district in a clear effort to dilute the urban vote. This map proposal fails the spirit of fair districting so demanded by the residents of Ohio.
“I am disappointed that they didn’t hear the pleas from hundreds of Ohioans for districts that are fair and representative of the people. We deserve better, we voted for better, and we call on the Ohio General Assembly to reject this plan,” said Deidra Reese, statewide coordinator, Ohio Unity Coalition:
The Ohio House Government Oversight Committee is scheduled to meet on Wednesday, November 17. Senate Bill 258 is on the agenda and marked for sponsor testimony pending referral.
Click here for Substitute Senate Bill 258 on Dave’s Redistricting App
Click here for a PDF of Substitute Senate Bill 258