Gerrymandering: Shading the Lines

Current map of Ohio's congressional districts.
Credit U.S. Department of the Interior

If the U.S. is supposed to be a representative democracy, when did this country go from voters picking their representatives to politicians picking their voters?  Over the course of five days, WKSU will take a look at the evolution of Ohio's congressional district, how they've gone from making geographic sense to the twisted, contorted shapes they are today.

The Balance of Power for Ohio's Congressional Districts:  An Interactive Map with the Results of the 2016 Election and an Overview of the Makeup of Each District (Click on a district to get more details about it.)

A Short History of Ohio's Congressional Districts

Ways to Connect

KAREN KASLER / OPR

Voters overwhelmingly approved Issue 1, which changes the way the state’s Congressional district map will be drawn in 2021 and beyond.

It sets up new rules on splitting counties and increasing minority party input.

Issue 1 keeps the Congressional map drawing power with state lawmakers – though Republican legislators drew the current map, considered among the most gerrymandered in the country.

But for the ideal outcome a new map has to get 50 percent minority party approval.

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.

Jack Cera
KAREN KASLER / OHIO PUBLIC RADIO

Ohio voters may see not one, but two, issues next year overhauling the way congressional districts are drawn. In the words of one advocate: “I care about slaying the gerrymander because I’m an American.”

Here is the fourth installment of our series, “Gerrymandering: Shading the Lines."

On election night two years ago, Catherine Turcer of Common Cause Ohio couldn’t have been more thrilled.

WIKIPEDIA

Ohio’s 4th Congressional District isn’t the longest in the state. Nor the most convoluted. Nor does it have the most disenfranchised voters. But it has the distinction of being near the top in all three categories -- and of being home to one of the most liberal communities in the country represented by one of the most conservative members of Congress. In the third part of our series “Gerrymandering: Shading the lines,” WKSU’s M.L. Schultze travels the 4th – a study of contrasts from south to north.

collecting signatures
M.L. SCHULTZE / WKSU public radio

Over the past five decades, Ohio’s Congressional districts have become increasingly “safe” for incumbents. And a big reason for that is the way the districts are strategically drawn for maximum political gain. In the second part of our series, “Gerrymandering: Shading the Lines,” WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia looks at how Ohio got to be this way.

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