State Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) released a statement today after Republican Ohio legislative leaders proposed new state House and Senate maps that if passed, would likely award them a disproportionate share of Ohio state legislative seats, which would allow them to maintain a veto-proof majority at the Statehouse despite new rules approved by Ohio voters meant to discourage gerrymandering.
“It is brazenly stunning that the Republican leaders on the Ohio Redistricting Commission would release a new state legislative district map that completely ignores the will of the citizens that they represent. The release of this map makes one wonder if the Republicans on the Commission still believe that Ohio is a constitutional republic or not.
“Ohioans spoke not once, but twice to demand fair districts.
“With those two votes (in 2015 and 2018), Ohio voters intended for this process to be open and transparent. They wanted as many voices as possible to be included in public hearings to deliver on the promise of fair maps. The five Republicans on the Redistricting Commission apparently do not trust Ohio voters ability to govern themselves because they just blatantly ignored the election results.
“Remember that State Issue 1 passed in 2015 with 71% of the vote. At the time, it was supported by both the Ohio Republican Party and the Ohio Democratic Party. It also had the support of a diverse cross section of groups that represent virtually every Ohioan. To refresh everyone’s memories those groups included: The ALCU of Ohio, the County Commissioners Association, the Fraternal Order of Police, the League of Women Voters of Ohio, the Ohio AFL-CIO, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, the Ohio Council of Churches, the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association and many, many more Ohio groups, organizations and associations.
“The passage of Issue 1 in 2015 meant that the Ohio Redistricting Commission was required to try to draw districts so the number of seats each party is likely to win mirrors its share of the statewide vote.
“The Republican map makers have again packed Democratic districts above the required population counts and cracked swing districts that Democrats have recently won in an effort to likely reduce the total number of Democrats in the Ohio General Assembly. These tactics are dishonest and violate the letter and spirit of the Constitutional Amendment passed by Ohio voters.
“In press coverage about the passage of Issue 1 (in 2015), Matt Huffman said this about the Issue 1 victory, it “shows that even complicated, partisan issues are solvable if you get the right people in the room and people work in good faith,” he said.
“Therefore, we must not have had the right people in the room. Or the people in the room completely disregarded the will of Ohio voters,” said Rep. Smith.
A Columbus Dispatch article about 2015 election results with the Huffman quote is here.