FAIR DISTRICTS BASICS
Ohio voters have overwhelmingly supported fair districts! We rejected the old ways when maps were drawn in secret "bunkers".
Voters should choose their legislators, legislators should not get to choose their voters.
What is Redistricting?
Every decade, after the census takes place, states draw new district maps for congressional and state legislative districts. The process for drawing these new maps varies for every state, but all states must redraw the districts with the new population data from the census.
Why do we do redistricting?
The US constitution requires that states redraw district lines to make sure the new population numbers are reflected in our congressional and state representatives’ districts. If people move around in the state or relocate to other states, this also impacts how the districts are drawn. If are state loses overall population numbers, then they will have less representatives in Congress. Ohio is expected to lose a seat this year, so our total congressional districts will now be down from 15-16. This is also called apportionment (see next question).
What is apportionment?
Apportionment of Congressional seats is in the US Constitution. The US Census Bureau is tasked with counting all the people in the United States every ten years. This department conducted the 2020 Census and is now tasked with one of their most important jobs, apportionment. The Census Bureau will first determine the total population of the United States and then apportion or determine how many seats in the US House of Representatives each state will receive for the following decade (2021-2031). There are 435 seats to be divided by population. In the past decade, Ohio had 16 congressional districts but it is likely that the state will have fewer going forward.
What is the process for redistricting?
There are two different processes for redistricting in Ohio. The rules for these processes were created by the new redistricting reforms passed in 2015 and 2018. Congressional districts will have their own rules and so will the Ohio Senate and House. You can learn more about these two processes from our friends at Common Cause. However, you do not need to be an expert to get involved!
How will redistricting be different in 2021?
2021 will be the first time we get to use redistricting reforms passed by Ohio voters. In 2015, Ohio voters overwhelmingly supported state legislative redistricting reform and in 2018, voters followed up by passing congressional redistricting reform. These reforms were placed in the Ohio Constitution and both reform efforts won in all 88 Ohio counties and by more than 70% of the vote. These reforms focus on encouraging bipartisan map-making and establishing rules that focus on keeping communities or political subdivisions together. Public hearings were added to encourage public participation and more transparency.