Sojourner’s Truth Staff
Last week, local Democrats held a press conference to express their dismay at the failure of the Ohio Redistricting Commissioners to so far meet and fulfill their constitutional duty to produce constitutional state legislative maps.
The Ohio Supreme Court has rejected the maps d rawn up by the Commission and has ordered a fourth map to be submitted by May 6. The process, which takes place every 10 years, has changed during this cycle due to decisions by the voters in Ohio in 2015 and 2018 creating a commission to redraw districts based on the current General Assembly party seats rather than attempting to increase the dominant party’s majority.
State Reps. Lisa Sobecki and Paula Hicks-Hudson, Lucas County Commissioner Pete Gerken, state representative candidates Elgin Rogers and Erika White and spokesman for UAW Local 5242 Emilio Ramirez all pointed to the uncertainty and waste of taxpayers’ money the Redistricting Commission has engendered by repeatedly drawing maps that the Ohio Supreme Court has repeatedly struck down as unconstitutional.
Ohioans have a right to fair elections,” said Sobecki leading off the press conference. “The state has been ordered to do so by May 6 but they are wasting taxpayers’ dollars.
Sobecki, using a dollar chart, estimated that the delays and repeat elections – a second primary will be held in August, it is estimated by election officials – will cost Ohioans more than $37 million before this election season has run its course.
“I can think of many other ways we could be spending $37 million,” said Sobecki. “That money could go to public schools, to mental health, a variety of things.”
“It’s a waste of democracy,” said Gerken holding a “wanted” poster featuring five of the state’s leading Republican elected officials. “When the lawless become the lawmakers, democracy is in trouble. The arrogance, the lawlessness…. It’s a violation of the laws of the state. Every voted who thinks he’s getting a fair shot is being robbed.”
Hicks Hudson emphasized the things that Ohioans can do to move the process along – “This fight has been going on for years and years,” she said of the struggle so many Democrats have waged to increase the ease and accessibility of the voting process to as many voters as possible.
Hicks Hudson encouraged interested parties to join actions to demonstrate the unfairness of the maps the Commission keeps drawing, to sign on to a letter at equaldistricts.com.