Anti-Gerrymandering issue to appear on May ballot

Anti-Gerrymandering issue to appear on May ballot
(Source: RNN)

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - A new way of drawing congressional district lines will be in Ohio voters hands in May. Both Lucas County political party chairs responded to the announcement.

The term Gerrymandering is used when a political party redraws congressional district lines to benefit their own party's interests.

"They always want to do this so it gives an unfair advantage to whatever political party just happens to be in power at the time. And should not be the case," Chairman of the Lucas County Republic Party Jon Stainbrook said

"On this street, Marcy is my congresswoman," Chariman of the Lucas County Democratic Party Joshua Hughes said. "But the people down the block or a block over, it's Bob Latta. That doesn't make sense.".

An infamous example happened in northwest Ohio in 2011, when Democrat Marcy Kaptur's 9th District was compressed and stretched east to connect with a historically democratic are of Cleveland.

"Marcy's is one of the prime examples of one that's unreasonable," Hughes said. "Part of her district is isn't even inhabitable, it's protected federal wetlands."

Therefore, both the State Senate and House have voted to put a new redistricting plan on the May ballot.

The amendment would require a 50 percent representation of the state's minority party in the redistricting committees that approve the 10 year district maps.

If a consensus cannot be met, the redistricting would go to a seven member commission that includes the state governor, auditor and secretary of state.

The plan also prohibits most county's and municipalities from being split up into different districts

"So, it's been both political parties that have done it over the years and it just needs to stop," Stainbrook explained. "It just needs to be fair so that the voters get to make the choice of who they vote for, and not some politician in Washington."

The hope is the new plan will allow districts to be drawn on the objective data of population density instead of political party sway.

"If we're able to create districts that make sense, rather than draw them to keep a certain political party in power and in control, that's what will benefit the citizen," Hughes said.

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