Gerrymandering: Shading the Lines

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

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?  Over the course of five days, WKSU will take 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.

The Balance of Power for Ohio's Congressional Districts:  An Interactive Map with the Results of the 2016 Election and an Overview of the Makeup of Each District (Click on a district to get more details about it.)

A Short History of Ohio's Congressional Districts

Ways to Connect

WIKIPEDIA

Editor's Note:  This story was originally published on December 20, 2017

Ohio’s 4th Congressional District isn’t the longest in the state. Nor the most convoluted. Nor does it have the most disenfranchised voters. But it has the distinction of being near the top in all three categories -- and of being home to one of the most liberal communities in the country represented by one of the most conservative members of Congress. In the third part of our series “Gerrymandering: Shading the lines,” WKSU’s M.L. Schultze travels the 4th – a study of contrasts from south to north.

photo of current Ohio Congressional map
FIVETHIRTYEIGHT

The group that sued over Ohio’s Congressional district map said there’s still time to draw a new one for next year's election if lawmakers are ordered to do that. On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court delayed a lower court’s order to redraw the map by June 14.

photo of current Ohio Congressional map
FIVETHIRTYEIGHT

The U.S. Supreme Court has issued a stay that says Ohio and Michigan don’t have to draw up new Congressional district maps until after two rulings expected next month.

The state appealed a ruling from a federal court in Cincinnati, which said Ohio’s Congressional district map was partisan gerrymandered and unconstitutional, and that a new map had to be drawn by June 14. Attorney General Dave Yost had asked for a delay, citing expected rulings next month by the Court on maps from Maryland and North Carolina.  House Speaker Larry Householder said earlier this week he agreed.

A federal court has ruled that Ohio's congressional map is an "unconstitutional partisan gerrymander" and must be redrawn before the 2020 election.

Partisan gerrymandering is back at the U.S. Supreme Court.

A year and a pivotal justice's retirement after the high court dodged the question, those seeking to break the political stranglehold over legislative redistricting are urging the justices to draw a line beyond which the Republican and Democratic parties cannot go in entrenching their political power, sometimes for decades at a time.

Attorneys for voting rights groups argued Monday that Ohio Republicans' goal was to lock in a significant majority when they redrew the state's congressional map, as the trial opened in a federal lawsuit against state officials who controlled the redistricting.

KAREN KASLER / OPR

Voters overwhelmingly approved Issue 1, which changes the way the state’s Congressional district map will be drawn in 2021 and beyond.

It sets up new rules on splitting counties and increasing minority party input.

Issue 1 keeps the Congressional map drawing power with state lawmakers – though Republican legislators drew the current map, considered among the most gerrymandered in the country.

But for the ideal outcome a new map has to get 50 percent minority party approval.

early voting 2012
ROMULUS MILHALTEANU / WKSU

In Ohio, state lawmakers and voting advocates are working on perhaps-competing plans to revamp Congressional redistricting. But ours is not the only state struggling with how political maps are drawn. A Wisconsin case is before the U.S. Supreme Court. A voter initiative is underway in Michigan. Lawmakers are debating change in Pennsylvania. And California has replaced politicians with a citizen commission. In the final installment of our series, “Gerrymandering: Shading the Lines,” WKSU’s M.L. Schultze looks at the efforts here and elsewhere.

Jack Cera
KAREN KASLER / OHIO PUBLIC RADIO

Ohio voters may see not one, but two, issues next year overhauling the way congressional districts are drawn. In the words of one advocate: “I care about slaying the gerrymander because I’m an American.”

Here is the fourth installment of our series, “Gerrymandering: Shading the Lines."

On election night two years ago, Catherine Turcer of Common Cause Ohio couldn’t have been more thrilled.

collecting signatures
M.L. SCHULTZE / WKSU public radio

Over the past five decades, Ohio’s Congressional districts have become increasingly “safe” for incumbents. And a big reason for that is the way the districts are strategically drawn for maximum political gain. In the second part of our series, “Gerrymandering: Shading the Lines,” WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia looks at how Ohio got to be this way.

snapshot from The ReDistricting Game
USC Annenberg Ceenter

From Dec. 18 though the 22nd, WKSU will take a look at the laws, calculus and politics that go into drawing Ohio's congressional maps -- and what changes may be coming.

Mark Arehart / WKSU

Ohio’s congressional map divides Summit County into four jagged, meandering pieces – making it – along with Cuyahoga County – the most divided in the state. And unlike Cuyahoga, none of the four members of Congress who represent Summit County lives in the county.

In the first part of our series Gerrymandering: Shading the Lines, we take a look at what that means when it comes to representing the area in D.C.