District Drawing Process Brought ‘Predictable' Election Results

The 2011 effort to redraw congressional and legislative districts produced highly predictable election results, according to a report released Wednesday by the League of Women Voters of Ohio.

The study, called Predicable Results, concludes that officials charged with drawing district lines were largely successful in developing boundaries that produced generally safe seats for either Republicans or Democrats.

"The 2012 election results for Ohio's U.S. Congressional seats, Ohio Senate and Ohio House were completely predictable," LWVO Executive Director Carrie Davis said in a release. "The districts were drawn to pack as many Republicans or Democrats into districts as possible, so that each party would have a virtually guaranteed win in districts drawn to their advantage. This report documents that the results matched the predictions perfectly, leaving voters wondering whether they have any say in the results."

The report notes that the results in all Congressional districts and Ohio Senate districts turned out as projected. Further, the results in 97 of 99 Ohio House districts came out as projected.

Bucking the projected trends were Rep. Nick Barborak (D-Lisbon) and Rep. Connie Pillich (D-Cincinnati), both of whom won in districts that leaned slightly Republican.

The report showed that Ohio House Republican candidates received a total of 2.43 million votes, while House Democratic candidates secured 2.53 million votes. Even with the relatively close splity, the House GOP came away with a strong majority of the seats.

The projections were based on indexes assembled by the Ohio Campaign for Accountable Redistricting. The indexes were based on results from the 2008 presidential race and the 2010 races for governor, auditor and secretary of state.

"These figures clearly document that Ohio's 2011 map-drawers created safe seats for political parties," Ms. Davis said. "The consequence of having such an overwhelming number of safe seats is that legislators are not compelled to be responsive to their constituents if they are guaranteed to win."

LWVO said the report also shows that while voters were almost evenly split among the parties, Republicans who managed the district-drawing process won the large majority of legislative seats.

"The number of seats held by each party does not reflect Ohioan's political values," Ms. Davis said.

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