Redistricting Contest Open to All

Columbus, Ohio - The League of Women Voters of Ohio (LWV-Ohio) announced March 12 a groundbreaking competition for redistricting in Ohio. For the first time, a statewide office will provide all Ohioans with the opportunity to take part in a competition to draw Ohio’s congressional districts. Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner heralded the announcement with a press conference at The Ohio Elections Conference on March 12.

As reported in The Columbus Dispatch, plans submitted will be ranked and scored based on specific criteria, including traditional redistricting principles (compactness and communities of interest) and modern redistricting principles (competitiveness and representational fairness). Creating fair and competitive districts while adhering to the Ohio Constitution (compactness) as well as the Voting Rights Act (representational fairness), is where the challenge lies.

The competition is the culmination of nine months of discussion and planning by LWV-Ohio in partnership with State Representatives Dan Stewart and Vernon Sykes, Dr. Richard Gunther of The Ohio State University, Ohio Citizen Action, Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner and Common Cause Ohio.

“Since the 1970’s, I have worked with Republicans and Democrats to minimize political influence over redistricting. Voting is fundamental to our democracy, but unfair legislative districts reduce the power of our vote,” said Joan Lawrence, a former State Representative and an LWV-Ohio leader of the redistricting initiative.

Under specific rules and timelines, contestants can use cutting-edge geographic information system (GIS) software to redraw Ohio’s congressional districts. Each plan will be evaluated, scored, and ranked by an impartial technical consultant. The winning plans will be announced at the close of the competition.

“We believe this redistricting competition will show that our state can transition to a fair, open process for drawing legislative lines. By focusing on the criteria for drawing districts and reducing discretion in choosing a final plan, we can minimize the political games that can mar redistricting under any political party,” LWV-Ohio President Linda D. Lalley stated.

The redistricting competition seeks to show that Ohio’s districts can be drawn using a blended redistricting formula that carefully weights traditional and modern redistricting principles. Under the proposed process, the top 25% of plans would be reviewed by an apportionment board which would choose a winner from those plans.

For more information about the redistricting competition, contact Deidra Reese, Executive Director, League of Women Voters of Ohio, at 1-877-LWV-OHIO, leg@lwvohio.org.

Read more: Redistricting Contest Fact Sheet