Democrats On Ohio Redistricting Commission Suggest Changes To Proposed Statehouse Maps
Many who attended Monday's hearing in Warrensville Heights say the commission's current map must be changed.
The two Democrats on the seven-member Ohio Redistricting Commission unveiled their revisions to Republican-drawn maps for the House and Senate at the panel’s hearing in suburban Cleveland Monday evening.
The commission is working with maps that are likely to allow Republicans to keep their strong majorities in the House and Senate.
But before those maps were introduced, Sen. Vernon Sykes (D-Akron) had proposed maps with 44 Democratic House seats and 14 Democratic Senate seats. Map drawing consultant Chris Glassburn with Project Govern is working with the Senate Democratic Caucus to update those maps.
“Our amendment today would likely result in 42 Democratic House seats and 13 Democratic Senate seats," Glassburn said.
Glassburn says the amended maps do not split townships and are closer to proportionality. The commission’s Democrats, Senator Vernon Sykes (D-Cleveland) and his daughter, House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes (D-Akron), said they hope the Republican-dominated panel will work with them to enact a bipartisan ten-year plan.
Over the course of five hours, Ohioans challenged the commission to make the maps less partisan and more competitive. Many of those who spoke said they are tired of legislative districts that are so safe for politicians that they don't need to represent the interests of voters. Many of the speakers said they believe young people move out of state because the districts they don't think they can make a difference here in Ohio.
Another Ohio Redistricting Commission hearing will be held Tuesday morning at the Statehouse. The panel plans to adopt the final maps Wednesday, a deadline the panel set after missing the September 1 deadline in the Ohio constitution. That was added as part of the plan to change the map drawing process in a voter-approved ballot issue in 2015.
Four of the seven members of the commission - including both Democrats - would have to vote to approve the maps for them to be in place for ten years. If the Democrats on the commission don't vote for the maps, they would only be good for four years under the new voter-approved process for legislative redistricting. And there is a possibility that failure to produce maps that achieve bipartisanship could result in a lawsuit.