Monday, October 17, 2011


The "rule of law" may turn out to be the saving grace for Stark County in terms of all of it ending up in the same congressional district after all.

However, an Ohio Supreme Court ruling instituting the rule of law may be upsetting to Stark County GOP Chairman Jeff Matthews and state Rep. Christina Hagan (Republican - Marlboro - the 50th) because both indicated that they were "pleased as punch" with an Ohio General Assembly redistricting plan fracturing Stark County into three districts.

Contrary to most Stark Countians, being the consummate partisans they are, Matthews and Hagan saw a silver lining in the gerrymandering of Stark in that (in their minds) it comes out that Stark has three times as much clout in Congress being in three different districts.

The SCPR's take is that, in fact, Stark residents in the lesser (in terms of Stark geography) districts, will likely take a huge back seat, if not shut out altogether, under the fractured plan.

On September 26th, Ohio Republicans jammed down the throats of all Ohioans (Democrat, Republican, and Independent) a U.S. Constitution which required every 10-year redistricting plan designed to keep Republicans in control of the overall political makeup of the Ohio delegation to the United States Congress.

Under the likely direction of Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern, a group called Ohioans for Fair Districts formed, and filed a lawsuit in the Ohio Supreme Court to require Republican Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted to accept petitions, preliminary to gathering a required larger number of valid voter signatures, to permit rank-and-file Ohioans to weigh-in on the Republican plan.

On Thursday last, the Ohio Supreme Court followed legal precedent established by itself in 2009 in v. Brunner and Taft v. Franklin Cty. Court of Common Pleas (1998) in arriving at its decision of Ohioans for Fair Districts v. Husted.

As things stand now, Ohioans for Fair Districts needs to collect a total of 231,149 votes in order to get the measure on a statewide ballot (get this - the November, 2012 ballot) by December 26, 2011. 

However, Ohioans for Fair Districts say they plan to ask the court to extend the amount of time within which they are required to collect and submit signatures to Husted.

It would be interesting to watch Matthews and Hagan in the eventuality that Ohioans for Fair Districts get the redistricting enabling legislation (Ohio House Bill 319) on the ballot.

Would they stick to the Ohio Republican Party line, or will they bend to local pressure and fall into line with the predominant view (Republicans and Democrats alike) in Stark County?

The Report uses "would" rather than "will" because the SCPR does not believe that a vote will actually take place even if enough valid signatures are collected.

What "will" happen is that Republican Ohio Speaker of the House will call a special session of the Ohio General Assembly and Republicans will be forced - by virtue of the Supreme Court ruling - to compromise with Democrats to the extent that Democrats will prevail on the Ohioans for Fair Districts to withdraw the planned referendum.

That, folks, is political reality!

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