Wednesday, February 14, 2018




On July 20, 2017 Ohio Republican Party chairperson Jane Timken (of the Stark County-based Timken Steel family) appeared at the Cleveland City Club and when asked about the prospect of Ohio getting to "fair [competitive] congressional/Ohio House seats" answered that she favored no change in current Ohio reapportionment law because she said:  "Elections have consequences."

And they do.

What she did not say was that in the battle between the Republican and Democratic political parties seemingly from the founding of Ohio (1803) for political dominance of political party interests each party has had its turn (repetitively) to shape U.S./Ohio House districts so that the party controlling reapportionment of legislative seats (at the federal level every 10 years based or population gain/loss/stagnation) had an "unfair" advantage (through "gerrymandering") over the other for the 10 year period of time.

What's get lost is in the Jane Timken preference is sacrifice of a fundamental quality of our democratic republic which is fairness which translates at the voter level into "one person, one vote."

There has been talk about lots of talk about correcting the unfairness in Ohio for at least the two past decades, but nothing correcting the unfairness has happened.

That is until now and through the efforts of an organization named FAIR DISTRICTS OHIO.

The Ohio League of Women Voters and Common Cause Ohio (the primary initiators of the fair districting movement in Ohio, formed on May 15, 2015) under the name Fair Districts = Fair Elections have collected over 200,000 of 305,000 needed to get a proposal on the ballot (November, 2018) BUT FOR the recent action of the Ohio General Assembly to place an initiative on the May 8, 2018 ballot under Joint Senate Resolution 5.

Catherine Turcell, spokesperson for the coalition tells the SCPR that the coalition plans on staying in tact through the 2020 census and 2021 mapmaking.

A good proposal for voters?

Here is what the editors of the Akron Beacon Journal (in part) say: (LINK to the full editorial)

A “huge deal.” That is how one leader of the Fair Districts=Fair Elections coalition described the compromise on legislation to repair the way the state redraws U.S. House districts. The words hit the mark. If Ohio voters approve in May, the state will have a process to deliver more competitive districts, candidates, thus, tugged to the center, improving the prospects for real governing once in office. (emphasis added)

Beyond the praise that the Ohio Legislature is getting for "stepping-up-to-plate," for Stark Countians is the fact that the core representatives for districts completely within the county; all voted for place the reform on the May 8th primary election ballot.

... [T]he ballot measure would require the state legislature to adopt a 10-year congressional redistricting plan with 60 percent of members in each chamber voting in favor and 50 percent of Republicans and 50 percent of Democrats (or whichever two parties have the most members in the legislature) voting in favor.

Should the state legislature fail to meet these vote requirements, then the Ohio Redistricting Commission, established via Issue 1 in 2015, would get a shot at adopting a 10-year congressional redistricting plan, with support from at least two members of the minority party.

Should the commission fail to adopt a plan, the legislature would get a second crack at adopting a 10-year plan, but with a lesser requirement of one-third of the members from the two major parties supporting the proposal.

Failure at this stage would result in the legislature adopting a plan through a simple majority vote, with no bipartisan vote requirement but stricter criteria, and the plan lasting two general election cycles (four years), rather than 10 years.

The measure would take effect on January 1, 2021, and apply to congressional redistricting following the 2020 U.S. Census. the core components of the proposal (source:  Ballotpedia LINK, resolution was passed on February 6, 2018)

It is surprising that former 16th District congressman John Boccieri voted against SJR 5.  One would have thought that he and Schuring would have been on opposite sides of the issue but not with Schuring voting in favor and Boccieri against.

By the way, Boccieri is looking to move on from the Ohio House in that he is running for the Ohio Senate (where he once served) in the 33rd District which is now represented by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Joe Schiavoni.

It is interesting to note that Boccieri felt compelled to put out a press release explaining his "no" vote.

The voters of Ohio in November of 2015 voted to reform redistricting for the Ohio House.

So this focus on taking action on the federal side of our elections is another step forward in making the "will of a 'majority' of the people" in a more balanced mix of Democrats, Republicans and independents in a more cohesive geographical setting is encouraging.

Kirk Schuring in particular is to be commended in his Republican leadership role in making this bipartisan approved proposed reform a reality.

Schuring worked with state Rep. Thomas West (a thoroughgoing Democrat) in sponsoring a bill to help Massillon cope with the sudden closing of Affinity Medical Center.

And now this; both voting for redistricting reform.

Even Christina Hagan voted for the measure.

What is this world coming to, anyway?

Now it is up to Ohio's/Stark County's voters to put a stamp of approval on the Legislature's work.

Be sure to vote YES on Issue One come May 8, 2018!


Full text of  proposed (subject to May 8, 2018 voter approval) Redistricting Reform

Substitute Senate Joint Resolution 5

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