At the end of the day it’s hard to believe either the Democratic or the Republican parties in Ohio were serious about changing Ohio’s method of creating districts, known as the Apportionment Board. Republicans have had a majority for the past two decades and some Democrats still hold out hope that the 2010 election results will give them the majority. It’s typically been a scenario where the members of the party that do not benefit from the majority are those most vocal in advocating for the process to change.
Governor, Secretary of State and Auditor hold the three out of the five spots on the Apportionment Board, the other two are split by party. As I’ve pointed out before, the theory is that the lines are supposed to be re-drawn after a Census to reflect population changes, the reality is they are drawn to attempt to create as many strongholds for the party in the majority as possible. History demonstrates this has been the end result, LINK.
What’s been called, “the best redistricting proposal in the United States” and the “the boldest effort to eliminate gerrymandering ever attempted in the United States” as quoted from the Columbus Dispatch, LINK is now “the nation’s best dead redistricting proposal.”
The Democratic and Republican Secretary of State (SOS) candidates on the November ballot are in support of changing how redistricting is done. Sen. Jon Husted, the Republican candidate for SOS’s quote from the Dispatch:
“The powers of the status quo are a very powerful force. There are many partisans on both sides that do not want to see the system changed, because of the quest for partisan power.”
Democratic SOS candidate Maryellen O’Shaughnessy sent out the following release this morning:
O’Shaughnessy Reiterates Apportionment Pledge to Ohioans
COLUMBUS – Today, Democratic Candidate for Ohio Secretary of State Maryellen O’Shaughnessy pledged to follow fair criteria during the apportionment process if elected to the Apportionment Board position. In a letter sent to each candidate for an Apportionment Board position, O’Shaughnessy stated:
“It shouldn’t require a vote by the legislature to make the reapportionment process fairer and less partisan; it simply takes an Apportionment Board comprised of ethical leaders who are committed to doing what is right for Ohio.”…
“I ask you, and all those running for an Apportionment Board seat this election year, to stand with me in making a pledge to the citizens of Ohio to reassure them that whoever sits on the Apportionment Board will follow basic criteria to ensure that the process of redrawing district lines creates competitive districts through a fair and open process.” …
“I pledge and I ask all to pledge the following:
Conduct Open and Competitive Process
The Apportionment Board will establish an open and competitive process for drawing legislative district lines based on census data and a mutually agreed to Statewide Partisan Index.
Utilize Objective Criteria to Review Submissions
The Apportionment Board will utilize an agreed upon criteria based on factors such as representational fairness, political competitiveness, communities of interest and compactness.
Preserve Minority Voting Rights
The Apportionment Board will preserve all federal rules regarding Minority Voting Rights and work to protect communities of interest by avoiding the separation of political subdivisions.”
It will be interesting to see who else agrees to her pledge and if they keep it, if they end up being the party in the majority as far as the Apportionment Board process after the November election.
Full text of the letter sent out by O’Shaughnessy can be read here.