Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Every ten years the Ohio Constitution requires that house (99) and senate (33) be reconstituted to ensure with a margin of error set forth in the Constitution that they are roughly equal population-wise using U.S. census data.

But the Constitution does not keep the two major parties (when in power terms of the composition of the Apportionment Board make up) from contorting and configuring the districts to put the ruling party's candidates for house and senate seats at an advantage.  It's call gerrymandering.

Most of Stark County is represented by Republicans in the Ohio General Assembly (OGA).  Canton and Canton Township have representation by a Democrat as does a sliver of eastern Stark County (Mark Okey, the 61st House District and Joe Schiavoni, the 33rd Senate District).

And such is likely to remain the status of Stark County given the make up of the 2011 OGA Apportionment Board (AB), to wit:

However, the actual configuration of the districts could change.

Take the 50th District (2002 - 2012)

And the requirement of the Ohio Constitution:
§ 07 Boundary lines of House and Representatives districts
(A) Every house of representatives district shall be compact and composed of contiguous territory, and the boundary of each district shall be a single nonintersecting continuous line. To the extent consistent with the requirements of section 3 of this Article, the boundary lines of districts shall be so drawn as to delineate an area containing one or more whole counties.
Is the 50th "compact?"


Here is it's predecessor district, the 56th (1992 - 2002):

Here is the 56th predecessor the 49th (1992 - 2001):

On August 24th, Stark County will be the site of one of the Apportionment Board's regional hearings.  From 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at Walsh University's Barrette Center board members will take input from area Ohioans who want a say in how Stark's districts are put together.

The 50th used to be the 56th which used to be the 49th which was represented Democrat Johnnie A. Maier, Jr (the 49th and 56th) for the period January 3, 1991 through December 31, 1999.  When Maier started out the district was Democratic leaning.  An effort was made by Republicans in 1992 to re-district Maier out by changing it to a solidly Republican District.  But as an incumbent, Maier was able to withstand the gerrymandering done by the GOP until he was term-limited out in 1999.

Republican John Hagan (a Republican Marlboro Township trustee who Maier had defeated 71% to 29% in 1998) won the district by a scant 1,023 votes over Lawrence Township Trustee and Democrat Michael Stevens.

Since Hagan won the district (which turned into the 50th in 2002), it has been a solid Republican.

For those Stark Countians who want to weigh-in on the composition of the 50th, the 51st, the 52nd and the 29th, August 24th is the opportunity to do so and the chance only presents itself once every ten years.

Here is a link to the Ohio secretary of state office from which Ohioans/Stark Countians and get it a try at redistricting.

Give it a try!

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