League of Women Voters to Legislature -- Hop To It!

July 5, 2010 614. 267.9699

League of Women Voters to Legislature -- Hop To It!

The Ohio legislature found time to resolve the conflict between the frog and the salamander as our state symbol. Then they went home without dealing with the real state symbol–the gerrymander.

Gerrymander: The hyper-partisan beast that rears its ugly head every 10 years following the census. And its poison? A winner-take-all redistricting process dominated by the political party controlling the governor, secretary of state and auditors’ positions….It’s a winner-take-all process that produces districts reflecting the dominant political party’s preferences rather than voters’—and encourages the protection of incumbents and unnaturally high numbers of “safe” seats.

There is less than a month before the August 4 deadline for the legislature to approve a ballot issue that would allow voters to approve a fair, open, transparent and bipartisan process for redistricting in Ohio. If the legislature fails to act by August 4, Ohio voters will continue to be plagued by districts that allow politicians to choose their voters, rather than voters choosing their politicians.

A compromise between two complementary redistricting proposals was near completion when our elected senators and representatives packed up in June and went home for five months. What does it take to get them back to work? Are they going to block redistricting reform for another 10 years for pure partisan advantage at the expense of Ohio voters?

And when, if ever, are they going to deal with…

• Pending election-administration reform that would go far to ensure smooth,
transparent and uniform election administration?
• Pending campaign-finance reform that would enable voters to know who
is paying for electioneering communications?
• Pending legislation that would curb payday lenders who continue to abuse borrowers?
• Pending energy bills that could create jobs?
• The looming state budget crisis that gets closer every day?
• Fill-in the blank _________

But not to worry! The Ohio legislature resolved the frog and salamander conflict! Who cares if Ohio has one of the most grossly partisan gerrymandering processes for redistricting in the nation?