Frequently Asked Questions About Redistricting
HOW DO MAP-MAKERS CREATE UNFAIR DISTRICTS?
The party that has the majority can pack voters of the minority party into one district so that they reduce the number of minority districts. The majority party can also split (called cracking) voters of the minority into a number of districts diluting their voting power and giving them an unfair advantage in elections for years.
ARE OHIO'S DISTRICTS REALLY THAT MUCH WORSE THAN THE REST OF THE COUNTRY?
Yes, Ohio has some of the worst gerrymandered districts in the country. For example, the 9th Congressional district, nicknamed “the snake along the lake” stretches from Toledo to Cleveland along Lake Erie, at one point connected only by a bridge across the water.
You can read more about it in our Additional Resources section.
I’M NOT A DEMOCRAT OR REPUBLICAN. WHY SHOULD I CARE?
Gerrymandering gives all voters fewer choices. Districts that lean heavily in one direction or the other mean that the real competition happens in the primary and elected officials are more tied to their political parties than their voters. This pushes parties to more extreme views and polarizes voters. Research also shows that legislators vote more in line with their party than the voters’ interests.
DIDN'T VOTERS ALREADY PASS REDISTRICTING REFORM?
In November 2015, Ohio voters overwhelmingly passed Issue 1, which created redistricting reform for Ohio House and Ohio Senate districts. In May 2018, 75% of voters approved congressional redistricting reform. Both reforms focused on stricter rules for keeping communities together and greater transparency in mapmaking. With the completion of the 2020 Census, it is now time to redraw legislative district lines. Since this is the first time with the new rules, it will be important for Ohio voters to follow the process closely and encourage the mapmakers to focus on the voters, rather than on partisan interests.
Still have more questions? A webinar on Redistricting FAQs is available on Demand.