News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Meaden & Moore

Hospice of the Western Reserve


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Government and Politics


Ohio's Constitutional Modernization Commission may consider redistricting
Secretary of State Jon Husted says plans should create districts that are compact and competitive
by WKSU's STATEHOUSE BUREAU CHIEF KAREN KASLER


Reporter
Karen Kasler
 
Secretary of State Jon Husted believes that in the end, redistricting will bring more democracy -- and be more expensive.
Courtesy of WKSU
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:
The panel of lawmakers and private citizens that will be asked to recommend changes to Ohio’s Constitution is looking at the way the political lines are drawnfor legislative districts. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler has more on what the Constitutional Modernization Commission may be considering regarding a new way to draw Congressional and Statehouse districts in Ohio.
LISTEN: Constitutional Modernization Commission may consider redistricting

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (0:57)


LISTEN: Constitutional Modernization Commission consider redistricting (extended)

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:43)


The topic of redistricting is a familiar one to Secretary of State Jon Husted, who’s been working on a proposal to change the way districts are drawn in Ohio since he was speaker of the Ohio House in 2005. And he told the Constitutional Modernization Commission that it has a historic opportunity here. 

“I believe that redistricting reform, if done correctly, can be the most important reform to the Constitution for generations because it has the potential to fix what I consider to be a broken democracy.”

The last time the maps were drawn by Republicans after they swept the 2010 elections, the districts were blasted as some of the most gerrymandered and uncompetitive in the country. Husted said any redistricting process should be bipartisan and transparent to create districts that are compact and competitive. And he said the lack of competitiveness could be clearly seen in the 2012 election.

Lines drawn so primaries are the only real competition
Among Ohio’s 16 Congressional district races last year, the closest race was decided by 4 points. The average margin of victory was 32 points. So the real contest was in the primary, and not in the general election. And since primaries bring out more partisan voters, Husted said, that creates a challenge for the eventual winners, who then have to go on to work in the Statehouse or on Capitol Hill. 

“We have vilified people on the political left and right so much so through this process that even if you wanted to work with someone from the other side, your base sometimes wouldn’t even let you do that.”

But a political science professor from Texas who’s studied legislative districts says that competition may be overrated. Tom Brunell is with the University of Texas at Dallas and says, when a district is competitive between the two major parties, that automatically means that nearly half of voters will feel they aren’t being represented because their candidate lost. 

Is competitiveness overrated?
“Was the benefit of having this competitive election, does that offset all these other costs of having all these voters not well represented in the assembly or in Congress? In my mind, they don’t.”

Brunell was invited to speak to the Constitutional Modernization Commission about his views on competitiveness, which he says come down to making sure that voters are engaged, and that candidates who want to win and keep their elected positions are responsive to those voters. 

“Your ideal district is you and then a whole bunch of other people, however big the district is, who think exactly like you. Then that’s an easy district to represent. The opposite of that is: Let’s draw districts that are really diverse in terms of ideology.”

Brunell says he’s looked over decades’ worth of data showing that the margin of victory doesn’t seem to have much effect on the ideology of the candidate elected – in other words, a big win doesn’t mean a representative with more extreme views. 

“So I don’t think that having more competitive districts necessarily leads to more bipartisanship.”

Others differ from that view
But Brunell’s ideas have been dismissed by many academics. Husted backs a bipartisan seven-member board of elected officials from each part. He supports a five-vote supermajority with at least one vote from a minority party member. He said that would create four to five relatively safe Congressional seats, with six to eight districts that could go either way, with lots of campaigning, political ads and robocalls. 

“In the end, we’ll have more democracy. And more democracy is likely more expensive.”

Husted told the commission members that if they are serious about making changes in the way districts are drawn, time is growing short. He said he’d like to see a proposal on next November’s ballot, which he says would need to be ready before the deadline in August.

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

Study shows raising the cigarette tax a dollar could raise $342 million
So, it takes an expert to tell us raising the tobacco tax raises the revenue for the state? Doh. By the way, any one who was going to quit smoking probably alre...

Akron's Highland Square celebrates community spirit and public art
Both Donna and her husband, Joseph are both such amazing art talents! The photos look stunning! I must get down to Angel Falls for an in-person look. I just l...

Pluto: Another off-season, another Browns quarterback conundrum
The Browns do need a draftable QB for the future. Johnny Manziel needs to go and that leaves Brian Hoyer and Connor Shaw. Free agency doesn't really have any so...

Exploradio: Improving the lives of paralyzed people
God bless you doctor. I hope to be alive the day that humans, like me, can use the results of your search...

Nature and nourishment down by the river at the Metroparks' Merwin's Wharf
I love QUICKBITES! I look forward to it every week. One question: is it possible to include a link to the restaurant or store that you profile? Thanks!

Canton's proposed Timken-McKinley school merger is drawing spirited debate
From a sports opinion Varsity would have a lot more talent to choose from So Im sure varsity sports would improve.Also Timkens name would be much more published...

Canton school board will decide whether to merge high schools
I really hope we can save those jobs, usually we try to cut budgets but the demand is still the same. Then we look bad a year or two after the descion is made. ...

FirstEnergy wants PUCO guarantees on nuclear and coal prices
Would just comment that the plant has admitted the following (as reporting in the Akron Beacon Journal): "The utility has said it may have difficulty keeping t...

Mozzarella's easy when you have a way with curd
Hello, Where can I get such a heater that you have? Does it hold temperature that you set? What brand and model is it? Thank you in advance!! :)

Pluto: A healthy LeBron James is the key for the rocky Cavs
It's time to back our Cleveland professional teams through thick and thin. I've seen management, players and coaches come and go and it hasn't changed a thing. ...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University