Lawmakers are not only expected to do the job for which voters elected them and in accordance with the will of voters who have sought to reduce gerrymandering, but the Dayton Daily News also expects the resulting maps not to do not harm the well-being of our region. An early iteration of the maps had split our area in half and separated Dayton from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Although this map is no longer being considered, such a dramatic reconfiguration could have been devastating to our local economy and political influence. We must emphasize the importance of language included in the first point of the Congressional amendment: Holding local communities together.
Gerrymandered districts also have important implications for political polarization. With uncompetitive constituencies, the “real” election is played out in the primary and encourages more partisan candidates who often run at the extremes. In an already divided and polarized political climate, we need to redraw in a way that reduces extremism, not encourages it.
Beyond the long-term damage these cards could cause, there’s immediate harm we’ve already witnessed. The estimated costs of a second round of primaries now needed for the Ohio General Assembly seats caused by this process are over $30 million statewide and over $500,000 in the only Montgomery county.
We call on lawmakers to do the right thing and stop dragging out this process. Create a fair map for voters and for our region, fulfilling the job they were elected to do. We re-emphasize the importance of “keeping local communities together”.
Additionally, it is imperative that the state hire independent cartographers who can work in public view. Despite a direct call for transparency in the map creation process in both constitutional amendments, much of the map drawing was done behind closed doors and the results were only revealed hours before being released. passed, freezing the commissioners of the minority parties. The whole process should be broadcast live, as it has been done before, and conducted as transparently and openly as possible.
Our world is constantly changing. If we are to successfully navigate a future that best serves our region, we need new maps that fairly represent the will of those who elect our legislators – not maps that impose the will of legislators on us.