Letter: No place for gerrymandering

Ohio is one of America’s most gerrymandered states. Gerrymandering is drawing electoral district boundaries in a way that favors one party over the other(s). It has been described as the politicians choosing their voters rather than the other way around.

In 2015, Ohioans voted overwhelmingly (71%) to change the way districts are drawn for state government, but Ohio still has not changed redistricting for members of the U.S. Congress. Currently, for example, Jim Jordan’s fourth Congressional district zig-zags from Coldwater to the west and Urbana to the south, all the way northeast to Lorain. Mercer County is part of three different districts represented by three different Congressmen.

This is a bipartisan issue.

Republicans currently have the advantage (12 seats vs. 4 Democratic seats in this closely-divided state), but Democrats held the advantage for years and could again in the future. Although the representation of our own conservative region is unlikely to change under any redistricting system, proposed plans would create a bipartisan process to draw district boundaries that are more compact and politically competitive. More compact districts would make it easier for our representative to meet with and serve all constituents. With more competitive districts, members of Congress would have to be sensitive to the needs and opinions of ALL constituents, not just their most extreme base.

Governor Kasich and Matt Huffman (R-Lima) deserve praise for leading efforts to end gerrymandering in Ohio. I hope Huffman will continue his work in the Senate and that Bob Cupp, his replacement in the House, will do the same. Please contact your state representative and state senator to urge them to end gerrymandering.

Beth Sutton-Ramspeck, Lima

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