Columbus Dispatch: DeWine, LaRose, Faber, Huffman, Cupp shouldn’t get away with slap to voters’ faces

Listening to reason is not the issue here.

Reason is heard just fine by the brazen members of the state commission tasked with determining who gets to represent you at the capitol buildings in Columbus and Washington.

The Republican members of the Ohio Redistricting Commission have demonstrated that they just think reason is a joke and it is OK to laugh in the faces of the 71% of voters who said they want district maps to be drawn fairly in the name of just elections.

Gov. Mike DeWine, Secretary of State Frank LaRose, Auditor Keith Faber, Senate President Matt Huffman and House Speaker Bob Cupp slapped voters in the face when they voted in favor of two sets of maps for Ohio’s 99 state House seats and 33 Senate districts.

It is sheer embarrassment that their juvenile behavior forced lawsuits that led to Ohio Supreme Court decisions striking down both sets of maps because those maps overwhelmingly favor GOP candidates.

Any reasonable person can see that the ‘hilariously’ disrespectful maps put forward by the commission’s Republicans violates the constitution the five vowed to uphold.

“When the dealer stacks the deck in advance, the house usually wins,” wrote Justice Michael Donnelly in the court’s opinion on the state’s congressional district map.

Put another way, DeWine, LaRose, Faber, Huffman and Cupp are perverting district maps to make sure members of their party can’t lose statehouse and congressional elections in most of Ohio.

It is about controlling your destiny by excluding your true voice from the conversation.

Now Ohio’s high court is virtually threatening to spank the state’s governor, secretary of state, auditor, Senate president and House speaker along with the two Democrats on the seven-member commission: Sen. Vernon Sykes of Akron and Rep. Allison Russo of Upper Arlington.

The Ohio Supreme Court wants the commission to explain in writing by noon Wednesday why it shouldn’t be held in contempt for not drawing fair maps.

If the explanation falls short of “here you go, fair maps,” the commission should be punished for not only being disobedient and disrespectful to the court but for being disobedient and disrespectful to the people of this great state.

That is a far nastier thing to do.

It may be unlikely, but ruling the commission in contempt if that happens would be just and right.

By rigging the election map to maintain all but full power to decide who represents you, they are laughing in your face.

You deserve far better than this.

That should anger Republicans, Democrats, and everyone in between.

A definitive 71% of Ohioans approved an anti-gerrymandering initiative in 2015. That constitutional amendment and one in 2018 sought to change the way officials draw voting district boundaries.

DeWine, LaRose, Faber, Huffman and Cupp could do the right thing, but are instead refusing to act on the reasons you’ve put forth. They think they are above your reason.

The five know full well that the GOP’s maps slice and dice the state to make even voting districts in Ohio’s largest cities safe for Republican candidates.

Our view has nothing to do with wanting a 50/50 split. Ohio leans right and the maps should reflect as much.

DeWine, LaRose, Faber, Huffman and Cupp know Republicans would maintain the upper hand in Ohio if there was a fair map. They do not want fairness. They want to dominate.

The total number of votes cast in the 16 statewide partisan contests in the past 10 years races favored Republicans 54% to Democrats 46%. The maps should reflect that.

Despite ridiculous public explanation of why they have failed to execute your will, the fact is that Republican commission members have not created fair maps because, like selfish children with a bag of candy, they do not wanna share.

And do not be fooled.

Putting forward a fair and just map might be complicated, but it is not hard. Citizens have offered multiple maps the commission could have and still can use to arrive at equity.

It is reasonable that Republican lawmakers on the commission would want to keep all the power they can — their veto-proof majority has helped them do things like overturn DeWine’s health orders — but you should be the ones who decide who represents your will the best, be that person a Democrat or a Republican.

This is not about what they want to do. This is about you and your family — this state’s future.

Ohio’s judicial branch should not have been put in the position of correcting members of our legislative and executive branches as if they were bad little children. But that’s how they are behaving.

Here we are, embarrassed by people who say they are capable of representing your will but are proving the opposite.

We will see what the court does if the commission’s Republicans continue to insist they have a right to a monopoly over your life.

We think members of the Ohio Commission have heard reason loud and clear, but perhaps we are wrong.

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Columbus Dispatch