COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The Ohio Redistricting Commission met for a short hearing on Friday. It’s the first step in drawing Ohio’s newest district maps.
Ohio’s current congressional maps have been critisized for the heavy gerrymandering that went in to drawing them. Over the past decade Ohioans have voted to make the process a more fair, bipartisan one.
“We’ve never had this procedure before; the stated goal is to make it fairer. That’s what we hope we end up with,” said Governor Mike DeWine, (R) Ohio.
Lawmakers on the commission say they are hopeful fair maps will be the result.
“We have a once in a decade opportunity to make maps that really serve and represent the voters of Ohio fairly and it’s our sincere hope that that will happen,” said Jen Miller, Executive Director, League of Women Voters of Ohio.
The commission is charged with deciding which areas will be grouped together and represented by the same state senator or state representative. Sitting lawmakers will also have a chance to draw a new map for the congressional districts, Ohio will be losing a congressional seat.
“I am confident that the maps will be fairer, how much fairer is for what we negotiate,” said Senator Vernon Sykes, (D) Akron.
House Speaker Bob Cupp announced at the meeting that they plan to hold nine public hearings so that people have a chance to voice their opinions on the new maps.
“I think it’s important that everyone feel as if they’ve had their say,” said Governor DeWine.
The state will receive the full census results in less than a week and the first deadline comes as early as September, so time is of the essence to start working.
“While we care about deadlines, what matters most to us is that we have a fair, open and transparent process that results in maps that truly serve the voters rather than the parties,” said Miller.