Ohio Redistricting 2000

Ohio’s Political Lineup

  1991

2001

Governor R R
State Senate 21R, 12D 21R, 12D
State House 61D, 38R 59R, 40D
US Senators 2D 2R
US Reps 11D, 10R 11R, 8D

 

Redistricting Deadline

The board must meet between August 1 and October 1 2001, and the districting plan must be finalized by October 5, 2001.

Public Access

Committee hearings in the legislature are open to the public, as with any legislative bill. In addition, the Secretary of State has unveiled a website, which includes news and downloadable software that citizens can use to draw maps and submit them. The same software will be available at 10 regional remapping centers.

Who’s in Charge of Redistricting?

 

 

The legislature is in charge of congressional districting, while the Apportionment Board handles state legislative districting. The board consists of five members; the governor, the secretary of state, the state auditor, one appointee of the speaker and majority leader of the senate jointly, and one appointee chosen jointly by the minority leaders in each house. (Republicans hold three of these offices and will control the Apportionment Board in 2001.) The governor only has veto power over the congressional district plan.

Districting Principles 

Principle

Congressional

State Legis.

Compactness

 

+

Contiguity

 

+

Political subdivisions

  

+

Communities of interest

  

  

Cores of prior districts

  

  

Protect incumbents

 

 

VRA § 5

 

 

  + = required                - = prohibited

Political Landscape

Ohio lost two U.S. districts in 1990, and lost another in 2001. The current congressional plan is a bi-partisan compromise that has created mostly safe districts, but enough competitive ones for Republicans to make significant gains. Given Republican control over both state and congressional redistricting in 2001, look for Republicans to seek to cut back the number of Democrat congressional seats to as few as four and to cement their advantage in the state legislature.

Legislation/Reform Efforts

Ohio’s recent history of redistricting – in which one party has taken advantage of majority control of the Apportionment Board to seek partisan advantage in state legislative districting – has sparked growing interest in reform. The Ohio Anti-Gerrymandering amendment has been introduced in the legislature with bi-partisan support for several years, and in 1999, the League of Women Voters initiated a petition drive to implement the amendment for 2001-2002 redistricting. Despite gaining a number of key endorsements, including that of the Ohio AFL-CIO, the initiative failed to gain a spot on the November 2000 ballot. Efforts are moving ahead both in a new citizen’s initiative and in the legislature to seek a ballot measure to implement the amendment for 2011-2012.

The amendment would implement a unique, criteria-driven approach. The best plan to meet the criteria – which includes compactness, preservation of counties, protection of minority voting rights and nesting smaller districts within larger districts – could be decided on objective, measurable grounds.

Legal Issues

In 1992, the Ohio Supreme Court upheld legislative senate district No. 22 against a challenge based on the Ohio State Constitution. The senate district was slightly below the threshold ratio of legislators to population. The court stated that in the case of senate district 22, two state constitutional provisions were in conflict, and that the Ohio Apportionment Board had the discretion to choose to follow one at the expense of the other. 

 

The legislative plan was also challenged as a violation of section 2 of the Voting Rights Act because it created more majority-minority districts than could have been required to satisfy the Act. The U.S. district court agreed with the plaintiffs and requested the defendants to prove their purposes in drawing the plan. The Supreme Court reversed this decision of the trial court. The high court stated that the trial court had incorrectly placed the burden of proof on the defendants.

The plaintiffs also claimed that the plan was a racial gerrymander. The U.S. district court found for the plaintiffs again, indicating that majority-minority districts in the plan were excessively packed, and were more numerous than necessary. Again, the Supreme Court reversed the district court's holding. The 1991 plan was upheld by the district court on remand.

 

In 1994, Clarence Miller – a conservative Republican who served in Congress over 26 years before being targeted for defeat in the 1992 plan-- and eight co-plaintiffs, including six congressional candidates from different parties, filed suit in U.S. District Court challenging the constitutionality of Ohio’s congressional districting plan. It was the first suit ever to challenge bipartisan gerrymandering and the first request, as a remedy, that the state be compelled to pursue an impartial procedure for drawing districts. The challenge was defeated. 


Irregularly Shaped District
District 2

Irregularly Shaped District
District 11

Irregularly Shaped District
District 19

· Southwest & eastern Cincinnati and suburbs

· Heavily Republican

· 97% white; 2% black; 1% Asian

· Cleveland—East Side and suburbs
· Includes poor, inner-city areas and extends to upper-middle-class suburbs
· Heavily Democratic; includes some of Ohio’s most liberal and integrated communities
·  40% white; 59% black; 1% Asian; 1% Hispanic

· Cleveland suburbs

· Competitive, although current Republican incumbent is won easily in 1998

 

· 97% white; 2% black; 1% Asian; 1% Hispanic

Contact Information

 Michael O' Neill
Staff, Legislative Service Commission
State Capitol
Columbus, OH 43215
614/466-9858  
614/644-1721 Fax
Michael_ONeill@lsc.state.oh.us