COLUMBUS (WCMH) — This week hundreds of Ohioans have testified at public hearings on how Ohio’s Redistricting Commission should draw the state’s new maps. The resounding call has been for fair and gerrymander-free lines.
The new redistricting process is meant to include transparency, public input, and bipartisan opinions. It was voted on twice by the people of Ohio over the past decade.
The nonpartisan organization League of Women Voters of Ohio has been attending the public hearings; Executive Director Jen Miller said it has been positive but she’s disappointed to see that some lawmakers have been no-shows.
“It’s very important that commissioners are in these meetings, not just to hear the testimony but to ask questions,” Miller said.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has been criticized for attending Cincinnati Bengals practice this week instead of attending the public hearings. The governor’s Press Secretary Dan Tierney told said the office sent a member of the governor’s staff to meetings this week, and that historically, governors have not attended the hearings.
“Bottom line, again, I’m a Bengals fan, I want to see how Joey Burrow’s doing this year, but the constitution and our democracy need to come first,” Miller said.
The first deadline for lawmakers is Sept. 1. On Thursday, the commission will gather to vote on the rules of the process.