Thirty Years of Gerrymandering
in the Buckeye State
By David L. Horn
David L. Horn is director of the Center for Research into Government Processes, Inc., a non-profit organization in New Marshfield, Ohio. He has closely followed redistricting in Ohio for decades and was a central figure in developing and popularizing the Ohio Anti-Gerrymandering Amendment. Versions of this amendment have been introduced -- with bi-partisan support-- in the state legislature since the 1980s and been the subject of several hearings. Amendment backers seek to remove discretion from the redistricting process by establishing clear, objectively-measurable criteria to govern how district lines are drawn. Although most nations with single-member districts indeed typically have such criteria-driven processes, the Anti-Gerrymandering Amendment would be unique in being driven entirely by criteria -- with no subjective interpretation permitted.
In 1999, the League of Women Voters of Ohio led an initiative drive to put the Anti-Gerrymandering Amendment on the ballot in order to reform the 2001-2002 redistricting process. The Ohio AFL-CIO supported the measure and at one point publicly announced it would seek to help put it on the November 2000 ballot. The Republican-controlled legislature and Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell made moves to place a competing measure on the ballot which would institute the anti-gerrymandering amendment process in 2011 rather than 2001. Ultimately, neither effort was successful in gaining a spot on the ballot.
Horn demonstrates his vast knowledge of redistricting in Ohio with a slide show that he has presented to many groups in Ohio. Following are highlights of the slide series that detail some of the real examples of how partisan results are manipulated and certain legislators are protected or targeted in redistricting. The entire series is available for download; the series in its entirety provides more concrete examples of how redistricting has worked in Ohio over the past four decades and more details on how the criteria-driven process would work.
To begin view the excerpts click here to Begin (use
the buttons in the upper-left corner to navigate within the series)
Or for specific pages:
A short history and description of Gerrymandering.
||A story of a state senator
who sought to draw his distirct lines to encompass a large portion of the
Cleveland area's Italian-American population.
||A story about an Ohio
House District that radically changed in nature.
||The classic description of
a party packing a large portion of its opposition's voters into one district.
||This slide shows a similarity
to a throw-away district, except it was house members being packed together.
||A vignette about Columbus
and its political divisions.
||A district expanded in
physical size results in two more Republicans pitted against each other.
The entire series is available for download in pdf format. Download the
zip file and then extract the pdf files to a directory. You can then view
the individual slides of the series using adobe acrobat.
5 sequences (pdf files that show the order
viewing once you have downloaded all of the files): The sequence descriptions
include a Full version, a North Eastern Ohio version, a North Western Ohio
version, a South Eastern Ohio version and a South Western Ohio version.