Cottrel: Ohio Redistricting Commission needs to do its job

Pam Cottrel

caption arrowCaption
Pam Cottrel

There is no better way to describe the situation where the Ohio Redistricting Commission has been unable to come up with a new congressional district map for the U.S. and Ohio House of Representatives.

Back on March 2, a map was approved by the Ohio legislature but rejected by the Ohio Supreme Court. (See illustration)

Since then the Commission has attempted slight changes in the map to make it acceptable to the court. But, the court still has not approved.

That is why representatives were not on the ballot on Tuesday. At this time those running for those offices don’t even know the borders of their districts yet.

Redistricting is necessary because Ohio’s population was down in the last census. Since every congressional district in the U.S. must have approximately the same number of people, one of Ohio’s U.S. Representative districts had to be eliminated and the lines of all districts redrawn by the Ohio Redistricting Commission.

So why it is taking so long?

It seems like a program could be written for this to be decided by a computer in just a few seconds.

Normally, I don’t care how the powers that be divide the state into districts.

In the past, I’ve just trusted that any wrinkles will be ironed out. However, this time it has my full attention and I don’t like what I’m seeing for our district.

When I magnified the May 2 map on my computer screen, I could see that a big monster bite was taken out of south central Clark County.

Taken from the county was the eastern half of Mad River Twp., Springfield City and Green and Springfield Twps. These areas were attached to a district that included Dayton City and Montgomery and Greene counties.

I don’t feel like I have as much in common with those locations as I do with the rest of Clark County. I’m afraid the things important to central Clark County folks like me will be lost in the needs of the cities of Dayton, Beavercreek, Xenia, and WPAFB.

In the March 2 map, the rest of Clark County will remain a part of District 10, a snake-shaped district which runs from Shelby, Miami, Clark, Madison and Fayette counties. At least these are all rural farming counties.

I am unhappy. I do not like the idea of Mad River Twp. being split in half with the western border of Enon being the dividing line. This will cut the urban area of Mad River Twp. in half.

It is already hard enough to figure out who is in the village and who is in the township. Now they will be in two different congressional districts that don’t necessarily follow the same property lines.

I don’t like the idea of Enon and the Greenon Local School District being in two congressional districts. I fear that any important issues we have will be split between two representatives and I don’t know if that is good.

This all makes my head hurt. I not accusing anyone of doing anything wrong, I just think this process has become too complicated.

Perhaps we really do need a totally unbiased computer to set up the districts by the numbers.

Meanwhile, because of the Commission’s failure to do its job, another election will have to be held to decide the representatives. I understand that this will cost Ohio more than $25 million.

What an abominable waste of money that is, in my opinion. I can think of at least 25 places in Ohio where a million dollars could do good things.

I believe the Ohio Redistricting Commission needs to do its job and stop wasting our money. And it needs to keep Clark County and Mad River Twp. intact in the same district and not split it.