Friday, June 2, 2017


UPDATED:  06/03/2017



Because the Ohio General Assembly (OGA) controlled by supermajority Republicans have via the process known as gerrymandering  (see this LINK for a history of gerrymandering) created (in the wake of the 2010 U.S. census) an assembly even more lopsided Republican than before, some Ohio citizens and civic activist groups took the matter of trying to get to the democratic/republican ideal of "one person, one vote" into their hands and did the necessary ballot initiative work to present the question fairness to Ohio voters in November, 2015.

The result?

A result pretty much mirrored by Stark Countians.

Would districts be fairer if Democrats were in commanding control of the Ohio legislature?

Not at all!

Digging deep into my past associations with Stark County Democratic politicians, I come up with one name that I think is representative of what supermajority control Democrats would do if the control factor was reversed.  

Name please:  Johnnie A. Maier, Jr, currently the clerk of the Massillon Municipal Court and formerly one of the top guns in the Democratic controlled OGA during the Speaker Vern Riffe era. (1975-1995)

The public interest be damned?

Maier seemed to me to be always beside himself as to which political party controlled the Ohio Apportionment Board which is a body, which up until the the passage of Issue 1 (now incorporated into the Ohio Constitution) in November, 2015, that allowed the majority party to dictate redistricting.

My take on Maier, Jr is that he is a power politician who bullies his way (not that unlike Donald Trump) through to realize his political objectives (e.g. making his brother George T. Maier, sheriff of Stark County) in order to achieve his personal self-interest by way of  commanding de facto if not de jure control of local Democratic Party organizations.

Maier himself had the benefit of running in a gerrymandered house district which included Democratic Massillon.  Massillon now, for the most part, is included in Canton Democrat Tom West's 49th Ohio House District.

I can't think of one legislative accomplishment that Maier had during his ten years or so as a Stark County-based legislator in the Ohio House.

While the Ohio Republican Party (in July) and the Ohio Democratic Party (in September) did endorse the November, 2015 initiative, it was touch-and-go as to whether or not the statewide Dems would do so.

Neither the "organized" Stark County GOP nor the Stark County Democrats endorse the initiative, local political parties from other counties did.

The Issue 1 change towards "fairer" state level legislative districts will not happen until 2021 and the conducting of the every 10 years census (i.e. the 2020 U.S. census).

As I write, there are 66 Republicans in the Ohio House (mostly suburban, rural districts) to 33 Democrats (mostly inner city and urban;  e.g. Thomas West of Canton).

In the Senate, Republicans control 24 to 9.

See this LINK to see the list of Democrats and Republicans who currently hold legislative office in Ohio.

Ohio voter registration is not 2/3rds Republican and 1/3rd Democrat.

As of May 17, 2017, there are 7.89 million Ohioans registered to vote.

Of that number:
  • Democrats - 16.41%
  • Republicans - 25.78%
  • Non-Affiliated -  57.81%
So depending on whether Republicans or Democrats control the district apportioning process, either 16% or 26% of Ohio voter registration population is catered two.

A "fair" apportioning process would focus on the 58% who are non-affiliated.

Here are the numbers for Stark County:

  • Democrats - 16,74%
  • Republicans - 28.70%
  • Non-Affiliated - 54.56%
Again, the focus should be in terms of fairness the 54.56%; not the 28.70% and the 16.74%, the way that "organized" Republicans and Democrats have done with redistricting over the years.

Here is a Ballotpedia summary (an extract thereof) of Issue 1 provisions added to Article 10 of the Ohio Constitution as a consequence of voter approval in November, 2015:

Issue 1

End the partisan process for drawing Ohio House and Senate districts, and replace it with a bipartisan process with the goal of having district boundaries that are more compact and politically competitive.

Ensure a transparent process by requiring public meetings, public displays of maps, and a public letter explaining any plan the Commission adopts by a simple majority vote.

Establish the bipartisan Ohio Redistricting Commission, composed of 7 members including the Governor, the Auditor of State, the Secretary of State, and 4 members appointed by the majority and minority leaders of the General Assembly.

Require a bipartisan majority of 4 members in order to adopt any final district plan, and prevent deadlock by limiting the length of time any plan adopted without bipartisan support is effective.

If passed, the amendment will become effective immediately.

News broke within the past week that a group working on drawing fairer Ohio congressional districts has received necessary ballot language approvals and will today (June 2, 2017) start circulating petitions.  

I was overjoyed to see this development.

However, I am disappointed that no Stark County person/location is listed as being a place to pick up petitions to circulate.

Please spread the word that Fair Congressional Districts for Ohio (FCDO) is in need of someone/some organization to facilitate circulation of the petitions in Stark County.

Statewide 305,591 valid voter signatures are needed from a minimum of 44 of Ohio's 88 counties.

As I write this blog, the closest pick up point for petitions is Summit County and at that the locale is Hudson which is located in northern Summit County.

Here is an e-mail contact link for a civic minded Stark Countian  to get in touch with FDCO and make arrangement to do a terrific public service for Stark County, Ohio, and, indeed the nation.

The Stark County Political Report will be pushing for the success of the FCDO effort with numerous updating blogs between today and the November, 2018 general election which is the election that it is anticipated that Fair Congressional Districts for Ohio drive will show up on the ballot.

If passed, here is what Article X of the Ohio Constitution will look like (language will cover both redistricting for the Ohio House of Representative, the Ohio Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives.

Going forward, likely on a weekly basis, I will publish blogs that thoroughly evidence why for the sake of a viable and vibrant Ohio and national democratic-republican system of to thrive, Stark County voters need to follow up the resounding November, 2015 vote on state of Ohio redistricting will the same formula for making Ohio's congressional districts more competitive.

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