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The Suburbanite
  • Redistricting primer

  • The new Ohio 16th Congressional District, which would take effect for next year’s congressional elections, includes Wayne County and parts of Cuyahoga, Medina, Summit, Portage and Stark counties.

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  • The new Ohio 16th Congressional District, which would take effect for next year’s congressional elections, includes Wayne County and parts of Cuyahoga, Medina, Summit, Portage and Stark counties.
    In Stark County, the 16th has all of Jackson and Lawrence townships and virtually all of North Canton. It also includes part of northeast Massillon around Wales Road, eastern Perry Township north of Faircrest, the parts of Canton and Canton Township in the “Timken peninsula,” Plain Township north of northwestern North Canton and Lake Township west of Market Avenue and Hartville. The 16th could be represented by Stark County's current congressman, Jim Renacci, R-Wadsworth. The 13th District includes Lexington Township, Alliance and a tiny part of Washington Township within Alliance. It could be represented by U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Niles. The rest of Stark County is in the 7th District, which could be represented by U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs, R-Lakeville.
    With two minor exceptions, until this year, all of Stark County has been in the 16th District since 1915.
    Every 10 years, the year after the U.S. Census is conducted, the Ohio General Assembly redraws congressional district lines to reflect population shifts. Ohio’s population growth did not keep up with the rest of the nation, so Ohio will go from having 18 congressmen to 16. Because Republicans, who controlled the Ohio Senate, won the governor’s race and control of the Ohio House in 2010, they got to draw the new districts.
    Democrats are collecting petition signatures as part of a referendum process in hopes of blocking the congressional redistricting map from taking effect in late December and placing it on the November 2012 ballot. That could result in a federal court drawing an interim district map. Republicans proposed a slightly different map this month in hopes of winning enough black Democratic support to pass a bill with a two-thirds majority that could not be subject to the referendum. But so far, not enough black Democratic state representatives support the new map. None of the Stark County district lines in the second map were changed from the first map.