Citizen Map-Makers Invited To Join Redistricting Process
The perfect project awaits a civic minded technology buff who is able to redraw Ohio's state legislative district and congressional district maps. In 2015 and 2018, Ohio voters passed two state constitutional amendments that established rules that are designed to make a fair redistricting process more likely for the decade beginning 2021.
The current congressional district map of Northeast Ohio is often described as "the snake on the lake." That map joins the City of Toledo to the western suburbs of Cuyahoga County and includes part of the City of Cleveland. This map would not meet the criteria approved by the voters in Article XIX of the Constitution of the State of Ohio.
The Constitutional criteria for the drawing of both types of maps is specific. The criteria requires "contiguity" and "compactness" which means that the new maps must honor established county, municipal or township boundaries. The criteria also considers existing population density to avoid fragmentation of neighborhoods, towns and cities. This strong language is intended to prevent gerrymandering and allow voters to cast ballots in congressional and state legislative districts that are drawn so that communities of interest are kept together.
Approval of a 10-year map requires bipartisan agreement. The approval process begins early this year and requires public hearings to be held after introduction of the proposed maps and before adoption of the final maps. Maps produced by citizens can be presented during testimony at a public hearing, can be circulated to members of the Redistricting Commission and can be submitted to a member of the Ohio Legislature where the vote to adopt the map will be taken.
Citizen map makers can contact All On The Line (https://www.allontheline.org) for more information. Individuals who would like to be involved in the fight for fair maps are also invited to join All On The Line.
Trudy Hutchinson is a Lakewood resident interested in community activism.