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.

Don Drumm Studios

Akron Children's Hospital

Knight Foundation


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

Environmental study nears completion in East Liverpool
Twenty years ago my twin sister and I protested the building and operation of the WTI facility citing several studies that indicated the risk of cancer due to ...

HOF's Canton expansion could take an island and make it a village
I live in the block from Broad St to the Hall of Fame and will be impacted by the expansion. I am in the process of selling my home and planned to long before i...

Cleveland redeploys police to replace rejected red-light traffic cameras
Periodic rotational enforcement without warning does NOT change behavior and the city officials know that. This is the basis of all officer-run enforcement trap...

New enrollment period offers more insurance options
The removal of federal funding for healthcare CO-OPs may limit the growth of the CO-OP movement. http://www.healthcaretownhall.com/?p=6381

The family of Boardman vet killed in Vietnam receives his medals
My name is Mike Eisenbraun. I am Larry's brother. I was 14 years old when Larry was killed in Vietnam. He has been gone for 46 years but it seems like yester...

Cleveland seniors are creating new wealth -- and facing new challenges
Why is anyone surprised that we people over 65 are not retiring? If you have been paying attention, defined company funded pensions were phasing out in the eigh...

Ohio company cuts off a dairy supplier after allegations of animal abuse
these people should be held accountable for their actions. i would be more than pleased to see a year or more behind bars. i will NEVER eat anything that comes ...

Goodyear recruits thousands of vets
What a wonderful interview! Excellent reporting skills by a talented young reporter! I look forward to hearing more from Ms. Schley!

Ohio Democratic Party begins the rebuilding process
I agree 100% with Sen. Brown. I think it is absolutely critical for the Democratic Party in Ohio to engage in the long, tedious, hard task of re-building from t...

Copyright © 2014 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