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Ohio Redistricting Commission Gets An Earful At Weekend Hearing On Proposed new Maps

Statehouse News Bureau

Members of the panel that will approve new maps for Ohio House and Senate districts were lambasted Sunday by Ohioans who attended a public hearing in Dayton that went on for more than four hours.Overwhelmingly, those who spoke said the maps being considered are hyper-partisan.

Connie Sheets, a self-described Republican from Cincinnati, said ordinary citizens were coming up with maps that were better and more representative of voters.

“So either you guys don’t want to put together good maps or you are incompetent,” Sheets said.

Sheets told majority Republicans on the commission the legislative maps under consideration were "a punch in the face" to Ohioans who voted with the goal of ending gerrymandering. "I'm absolutely appalled at your behavior," Sheets said.

Vanessa Enoch, an African American Democrat who ran unsuccessfully for the 8th Congressional District last year, said the maps are unfair to minorities. And she fears younger voters will move away like her daughter did because they don't feel as if they aren’t represented.

“They leave. Innovation and creativity will leave with them," Enoch said.

Majority Republicans who proposed the maps say they’re open to changes. As they stand now, the maps are expected to ensure Republican supermajorities in the legislature.

There will be more hearings before the maps are finalized. That's expected to happen this week, since the panel set a deadline of September 15 after missing the September 1 deadline that voters approved in the Ohio constitution.

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