Ohio Voters Make Progress to Reduce Gerrymandering

http://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/386839-ohio-voters-pass-redistricting-reform-initiative
https://www.vox.com/2018/5/7/17302388/ohio-issue-1-gerrymandering-redistricting

Ohio voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure that will reform the state's redistricting process, creating a mandate for bipartisanship in the decennial remapping process.

With about half the votes counted a few hours after polls closed, about three quarters of Ohio voters backed the initiative, State Issue One.

The ballot measure asked voters whether they wanted to amend the state constitution to require bipartisan support when drawing new congressional district lines. Any new maps would require three-fifths support in the state House and Senate, including support from at least half the members of the minority party.

If Republicans and Democrats in the legislature cannot agree on a map, a seven-member bipartisan commission would be assigned to draw new maps. Those maps would have to be approved with at least two votes from the minority party.

If the bipartisan commission fails, the legislature would be allowed to try to draw 10-year maps that earn support from one-third of the minority party or a four-year map with only majority support.

This should help balance some of the issues in the Gerrymandered GOP maps in Ohio, but I still think they will still have work to do to really balance this out long term. We need to also focus on the amount of power given to rural districts and equalize the value of each vote. Still though this is good progress to help resolving the issues and very good news.

I thought that much of the gerrymandering was already bi-partisan.

trunkage:
I thought that much of the gerrymandering was already bi-partisan.

It is nothing like it used to be. The GOP have been using a program to make their maps ridiculous at this point.

But in recent years, Republicans have carried out an unprecedented operation to gerrymander districts across the US, with the goal of disenfranchising Democratic voters and rigging the system to preserve their majority.

In 2009, as President Obama took office with Democratic majorities in both chambers of Congress, Republicans looked ahead to the 2010 census and developed a plan called REDMAP, or Redistricting Majority Project, to target state races. By investing campaign money to support Republicans in key state-level races, the GOP won majorities in 10 of the 15 states that would reapportion their districts. Using advanced software to target their desired voters, Republican operatives redrew congressional borders to pack the greatest numbers of Democratic voters into the fewest possible districts.

They made no effort to conceal their partisan strategy. We can see this in maps of congressional districts that blatantly fail to meet legal standards of contiguity and compactness.

https://blog.flippable.org/how-republicans-rigged-the-map-8255833d1bc6

THIS is also a Huge deal:

The constitutional amendment would also require at least 65 counties to be drawn wholly into a congressional district. New maps could not divide the cities of Cleveland or Cincinnati between districts.

http://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/386839-ohio-voters-pass-redistricting-reform-initiative

This way they cannot split up cities to increase/decrease the value of their votes at will to impact other districts.

Well, that's making a small amount of progress on peeling back one layer of the onion that is the collection of ways the United States fails at being a democracy. Good!

I have a proposal to fix the gerrymandering issue, that goes beyond the idea of computer models and independent commissions and court oversights.
How about we amend our Constitution to make the position of representative determined on the basis of proportional representation? So if there are 10 seats and the GOP gets 60% of the vote, they get 6 seats? And while we're at it, make our Senate seats decided by a single transferable vote like the 'Strayans?

CM156:
I have a proposal to fix the gerrymandering issue, that goes beyond the idea of computer models and independent commissions and court oversights.
How about we amend our Constitution to make the position of representative determined on the basis of proportional representation? So if there are 10 seats and the GOP gets 60% of the vote, they get 6 seats? And while we're at it, make our Senate seats decided by a single transferable vote like the 'Strayans?

Good idea. We wouldn't actually have to give up electoral districts if we implement it like Germany (which elects individual seats, then adds representatives from party lists to make it proportional).

Of course, I like a more radical idea: make our Congress a liquid democracy. But proportional representation and STV in the Senate (and Presidency) is serviceable.

trunkage:
I thought that much of the gerrymandering was already bi-partisan.

Only in the sense that each side did it when it was their turn at the power; but every time it still was a one-sided decision. This is more of a common ground oriented solution.

CM156:
I have a proposal to fix the gerrymandering issue, that goes beyond the idea of computer models and independent commissions and court oversights.
How about we amend our Constitution to make the position of representative determined on the basis of proportional representation? So if there are 10 seats and the GOP gets 60% of the vote, they get 6 seats? And while we're at it, make our Senate seats decided by a single transferable vote like the 'Strayans?

Amending the constitution is borderline impossible. Also representative democracy (ie the seat represent a certain territory) is really popular, so people really don't like the idea of getting rid of that part.

trunkage:
I thought that much of the gerrymandering was already bi-partisan.

There are no angels here -- Democrats do engage in gerrymandering. However, 538 has a whole project on their site that examines the issue, and to paraphrase Nate Silver and summarize how tilted the problem is currently: the Democrats could win the midterm elections by 7-8 points and STILL not gain control of the House. That's outrageous, and that's exactly what Republican governors and GOP-dominated state legislators were aiming for when they redrew so many of these maps.

https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/redistricting-maps/

Meiam:

CM156:
I have a proposal to fix the gerrymandering issue, that goes beyond the idea of computer models and independent commissions and court oversights.
How about we amend our Constitution to make the position of representative determined on the basis of proportional representation? So if there are 10 seats and the GOP gets 60% of the vote, they get 6 seats? And while we're at it, make our Senate seats decided by a single transferable vote like the 'Strayans?

Amending the constitution is borderline impossible. Also representative democracy (ie the seat represent a certain territory) is really popular, so people really don't like the idea of getting rid of that part.

Right. Any talk of amendments in the current political climate is fantasy. The only chance of changing the constitution would be through a constitutional convention called by the states, but that would be equivalent to opening Pandora's Box.

Honestly, repealing the Apportionment Act of 1911 would go a long way towards restoring true representation and is potentially do-able as it is only a law. Capping the number of representatives has led to the ridiculous situation where a person in California or Texas ~.86 the representation of the average US citizen (1.0) and a person in Wyoming or Vermont has ~3.0 the representation of the average US citizen (1.0).[1]

 

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