Ohio Environmental Council Holds Political Redistricting Info Session
In 2015 and 2018, Ohioans voted for a set of new rules for legislators to follow when redrawing congressional and state legislative maps. The rules are meant to prevent gerrymandering, or drawing maps to favor one political party over another. Redistricting generally happens every ten years after new census data is released.
The Ohio Environmental Council hosted a Jeopardy-themed info session last week to teach people about what the new redistricting rules mean for Ohioans.
During a recent redistricting information session, Chris Tavenor, staff attorney at the Ohio Environmental Council, says district maps in the state don’t reflect the wants and needs of citizens.
“In the past, the redistricting process has kind of happened behind closed doors and has resulted in some maps that don’t accurately reflect the opinions of Ohioans,” he said.
Spencer Dirrig, Political Director of the Environmental Council, says this has led to weak environmental policy in the state.
“We know that there’s a clear majority in Ohio in favor of renewable energy, clean air, and clean water," Dirrig said. "But our representatives don’t necessarily represent that majority because they don’t represent those people and those voices. They represent these differently drawn districts.”
Some of the new rules the maps must follow include keeping most of Ohio’s counties whole. Only five counties can be split more than twice. And no maps are allowed to favor one political party over another. The redistricting process kicks off this summer.