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Redistricting: Ohio commission ignored will of voters

Three years ago, Ohio voters overwhelmingly said they wanted a constitutional amendment to create a bipartisan commission to handle the redrawing of political boundaries every decade.

Monday, that commission decided not to do its job. It never even considered a proposal, according to a report by The Hill.

Members of the commission are: Gov. Mike DeWine, Secretary of State Frank LaRose, Auditor Keith Faber (all Republicans), state Speaker of the House Robert R. Cupp, R-Dist. 4; state Sen. Vernon Sykes, D-Dist. 28; state Senate President Matt Huffman, R-Dist. 12; and state House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes, D- Dist. 34.

The reason given for their failure by DeWine spokesman Dan Tierney was the commissioners had run out of time. (Readers will recall this same group held its first meeting to do … absolutely nothing, way back on Aug. 6.)

“In 2018 Ohioans sent a clear message on redistricting — we wanted a fair and transparent process. Today, once again, the Republican-led commission sent quite another message — they don’t care,” said Katy Shanahan, the Ohio state director for All On The Line. “Not about transparency in map drawing, not about ensuring public engagement opportunities, not about the constitutional requirements, and not about our democracy.”

Shanahan, whose organization is affiliated with the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, has good political reason for using such aggressive language. But at best it is an AWFUL look for members of the commission who are now handing over the decision to the Republican-led state legislature. Those lawmakers will now have a month to do what the commission wants us to believe it could not accomplish in approximately three months — what Ohio voters ASKED them to do.

Buckeye State residents already know what the process looks like when handled by lawmakers. That’s why they wanted better. But now, according to The Hill, the amendment will allow the majority party to force through its preferred maps — with the possibility that those boundaries would be in place for only four years — if lawmakers decide the commission’s giving up amounts to a deadlock.

Members of the state’s redistricting commission knew what Ohioans expected of them, and they decided not to do it. That’s not the kind of thing voters forget.

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