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July Meeting - Redistricting Reform: Here We Go Again. What's different? What's the same? And why should I care?

Catherine Turcer, Common Cause
Friends Auditorium, UA Public Library

2800 Tremont
Wednesday, July 8, 2015
6:30 gathering, program at 7:00 pm

Sandy Theis speaking at UAPA meetingNOTE: Sandy Theis from Progress Ohio spoke about redistricting rather than Catherine Turcer. Redistricting reform was on the ballot in 1981, in 2005 and in 2012.  We can all agree that legislative districts shouldn't be rigged to favor the political party in power and that manipulation of district lines manipulates the vote.  But can we actually change this winner-take-all system?  Catherine Turcer, Common Cause Ohio's policy analyst, will take a look back at reform efforts of the past and walk us through a discussion of Issue 1, the redistricting reform measure on this November's ballot. 
Catherine Turcer has been working on redistricting reform since the late 1990s and was the chair of the 2012 Voters First redistricting reform effort. She co-authored Reforming Ohio's Democracy and Democratic Renewal: A Call from the Heartland.  Catherine helped coordinate the 2009 and 2011 Ohio Redistricting Competition which gave the public the tools to draw district lines and better understand gerrymandering.

Do think your legislators represent your interests? If not, join UAPA and Catherine Turcer to find out how we can work toward a more responsive legislature.

Every 10 years, Ohio draws new legislative district lines based on changes in population and US Census data. District lines should be fair, drawn to represent the communities that live there. lnstead, Ohio is sliced and diced; its districts manipulated to favor the political party in charge of map-making. With a near even spilt of Democrats and Republicans in Ohio, today's legislative districts were intentionally drawn to favor Republicans. That's because Republicans controlled the process used to draw the new lines. ln the past, when Democrats were in control, they did the same

This November, voters will have a chance to change that by supporting State lssue 1. Our votes should not be manipulated; state legislative elections shouldn't be rigged to favor one party over another. And our state legislature agrees! Last December, Democrats and Republicans joined together to create a plan that you'll be able to vote on in November. Their proposal is designed to give voters state legislative districts that better reflect Ohio's status as a swing state, one where both parties are nearly equal.

Yes! lssue l would create a much fairer system by:

  • Establishing a bipartisan panel responsible for creating legislative district lines. lt would be called the Ohio Redistricting Commission.
  • Setting rules that require new districts to keep communities together. This would put an end to today's oddly shaped districts that unnecessarily split cities, counties and townships to help one political party or another.
  • Ending the practice of having the new maps drawn in secret. The new Redistricting Commission would hold public hearings and explain how the new maps do not unfairly favor a particular political party. lf it was necessary to split a county, municipality or township, the Commission would be required to explain why.

Yes! lssue 1 creates good criteria for making the new state legislative maps:

  • No general assembly map shall be drawn primarily to favor or disfavor a political party.
  • The map as a whole should reflect the statewide partisan preferences of voters. This is sometimes called representational fairness and strengthens the rule against rigging the districts for partisan advantage. [Common Cause]

Danny O'Connor at UAPA meeting

Danny O'Connor, candidate for Franklin County Recorder also spoke to the group.

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