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If the U.S. is supposed to be a representative democracy, when did this country go from voters picking their representatives to politicians picking their voters? WKSU takes a look at the evolution of Ohio's congressional district, how they've gone from making geographic sense to the twisted, contorted shapes they are today.

Former Lawmaker Suggests Deal on Redistricting

map of Ohio's congressional districts
U.S. Department of the Interior

State lawmakers have added a rare Monday session, in case they need to vote on changing the way Ohio’s Congressional map is drawn. One former lawmaker calls the current map the most gerrymandered one in state history, and has suggestions for his former colleagues and a coalition of citizens’ groups who want to take their plan to voters in the fall.

Former reporter and state lawmaker Mike Curtin says a deal between Republican state lawmakers, who want to keep control of drawing the map, and Democrats and citizens’ groups, who want a bipartisan commission to do it, comes down to a big compromise.

“Republicans have to not split big counties unless they must for population reasons, and Democrats have to give up this ghost of so-called representational fairness.”

Democrats say splitting urban counties breaks up communities. But Republicans say requiring the percentage of seats for each party to match each party’s percentage of votes is gerrymandering too. But Curtin says a truly fair map would be drawn based only on census population data, not on party affiliation data. Lawmakers have until Wednesday to pass a plan if they want it on the May ballot.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.