Input from 2,000 Ohioans influences proposed legislative maps

Redistricting commission heads to Toledo Thursday to gather public feedback
Published: Aug. 25, 2021 at 11:30 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The clock is ticking to draw Ohio’s new state legislature maps. Ohioans have come out in droves to let lawmakers know they want a say in the end result.

“The next two months would be one of the most important periods in our state’s history,” said Greg Moore, the co-chair of the Ohio Citizens’ Redistricting Commission.

The nonpartisan group released their proposed state legislature maps Wednesday. They’re composites of more than 2,000 maps drawn by Ohioans on the group’s website and based on feedback from residents across the state gathered in recent months.

“Over and over, participants told us they want to be part of the process of choosing their representatives and not the other way around,” Moore said.

Their maps erase the current makeup of Ohio’s current state legislature to reflect the state’s current political leanings.

In the last five general elections, the state has leaned Republican for statewide offices in a 55-45 percent split. But Republicans currently have supermajorities in both chambers of the General Assembly. They hold a 25-8 advantage in the Senate and a 64-35 majority in the House of Representatives.

“Rigged gerrymandered districts have given us legislators who do not share our values,” Desiree Tims, the president and CEO of Innovation Ohio.

The new maps will ultimately come from the Ohio Redistricting Commission.

The group of elected officials has five Republicans and two Democrats. Both Democrats have to approve the maps with at least two Republicans for them to be good for 10 years.

Their deadline is Sept. 1. If they can’t make a deal, that date gets extended for two weeks.

If there’s still no bipartisan buy-in, the maps are only good for the next 4 years.

“Time is short, but there is still time for the Ohio Redistricting Commission to follow the lead of their constituents and draw fair maps that embrace the Voting Rights Act and full representative fairness,” Moore said.

The commission has traveled across Ohio in the last week gathering public input from residents.

Thursday, it comes to Toledo. The public can give input on the state’s new maps inside the McMaster Center at the main Toledo Lucas County Public Library at 325 N. Michigan St. from 2:30-5:30. Parking is free in the garage under the library and accessible from Adams St. Everyone in attendance at the library has to wear a mask.

The commission’s final day of public hearings is Friday.

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