August 2011

 
Non-Partisan Election Groups Pick Redistricting Winner

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio League of Women Voters and other non-partisan election groups announced the winner of their redistricting map contest Wednesday.

"It's time we get passed the hyper-partisan political decision making in drawing districts," said Meg Flack with the League of Women Voters.

Flack said that there's an advantage to allowing citizens and not politicians draw fair districts.

"The advantage is for the voters," Flack said. "It's putting the constituents first rather than the party."

The group announced that a Republican lawmaker from Illinois, Mike Fortner, had submitted the winning map. He'll receive $1,000 for his entry.

Jim Slagle from the Ohio Campaign for Accountable Redistricting said that Fortner's map should be used by lawmakers to draw more competitive and fair districts.

"Sometimes public officials don't like to have the public in control," Sagle said. "We think the maps ought to be drawn for the public's benefit and the public ought to be driving this process."

Slagle said that allowing lawmakers to draw their own lines has resulted in tilted election results in Ohio in 18 of the last 20 statewide elections.

Slagle also complains that the reapportionment committee has yet to publicly post any ideas they're considering, Heath reported.

"We're going to continue to request that the reapportionment board make maps public that they wish to consider. Post them on the internet. Put them under the same scrutiny that we put our maps to," Slagle said.

No one expects Republicans, who control both the House and Senate, to adopt maps that give up their edge.

However, the non-partisan groups hope the public will demand a fairer process before any final decisions are mapped later this year.

A contest for Ohio congressional lines is still going on.