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The Suburbanite
  • Editorial: Another map but no real progress

  • The issue: Congressional redistricting


    Our view: Sensible map still elusive; expensive primary chaos still looms in 2012

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  • The issue: Congressional redistricting
    Our view: Sensible map still elusive; expensive primary chaos still looms in 2012
    Stark Countians have a big reason for wanting state legislators to go back to the drawing board on a new congressional district map.
    The map approved by the Republican-dominated Legislature earlier this year splits Stark among three districts starting in 2013 — for the first time in the county’s history.
    Most of that map, in fact, is a mess. But we naturally see what was done to Stark County as especially egregious because it dilutes the influence of the most populous part of the current 16th District.
    All Ohioans have a stake in the effort to draw a better map, though. If Republicans and Democrats can’t agree on new boundaries, the map approved in September will end up in a referendum on the November 2012 ballot, and the primary election process will be thrown into chaos. Ohioans would vote in two primary elections next year instead of one, adding $15 million to the cost of staging elections.
    Meanwhile, a Republican effort to change the map didn’t get the Democratic support it needed Thursday to be brought to a vote in the Ohio House. This map would have split Stark into three districts instead of two, but otherwise, it looks every much like the map approved in September. All but the northwest corner of Stark County would be in the new 7th District with nine other counties. The district would loop south in the shape of a “U” around Wayne County, extend west through Knox County and then go north all the way to Lake Erie in Lorain County.
    Northeast Ohio, as the most densely populated part of the state, is bound to see changes as the state is forced to eliminate two districts, the result of the 2010 census. But the most sensible map still is the one named as the winner of a contest sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Ohio and other organizations. That map keeps Stark County intact.
    Back to the drawing board.