Gerrymandering: Shading the Lines

Jo INGLES / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Talks continue between majority Republican lawmakers and some of those who oppose their proposal to change how congressional districts are drawn.

Sen. Bill Coley, the leader of the committee that has been hearing the proposed Republican congressional redistricting bill, says talks continue and something could happen soon.

“We’re going to continue to work through the day on both sides of the aisle and hopefully we will get this right today and will have something that we will be able to move out of committee later on today.”

A photo of the Senate committee.
JO INGLES / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The debate over how to draw Ohio’s Congressional districts continues at the Statehouse as lawmakers and leaders of a coalition of citizens groups talk behind closed doors. The GOP lawmakers want to put their redistricting plan, which lacks any Democratic support, on the May ballot. And if they do, the coalition, which wants to put its own issue before voters this fall, is promising a fight. 

photo of the congressional districts in Ohio
JON HUSTED / OHIO SECRETARY OF STATE

A coalition of citizens’ groups had been talking with state lawmakers for days about a compromise to change the way Ohio’s Congressional map. Both sides -- as well as Democrats who were working onthe deal -- say efforts to reach a deal have failed.

The groups, including Common Cause Ohio and the League of Women Voters of Ohio, said they’ll continue their drive to take their plan to the November ballot because they said the GOP lawmakers’ plan doesn’t keep communities together or create a bipartisan process. 

early voting 2012
ROMULUS MILHALTEANU / WKSU

In Ohio, state lawmakers and voting advocates are working on perhaps-competing plans to revamp Congressional redistricting. But ours is not the only state struggling with how political maps are drawn. A Wisconsin case is before the U.S. Supreme Court. A voter initiative is underway in Michigan. Lawmakers are debating change in Pennsylvania. And California has replaced politicians with a citizen commission. In the final installment of our series, “Gerrymandering: Shading the Lines,” WKSU’s M.L. Schultze looks at the efforts here and elsewhere.