Did you know that Mercer County is divided into three separate federal congressional districts? One of them, District 4, which also includes Allen County, is duck shaped, meandering across the state 103 miles north/south and 135 miles east/west, picking up bite-sized portions of five other counties and nine whole counties.
That happened when our congressional districts were redrawn after the 2010 census. It’s called gerrymandering, a process of drawing political districts to favor one political party or candidate over the other. The politicians picked their voters rather than the way it’s supposed to be, where voters choose the politicians. It’s the cause of much of the hyper-partisan politics we are now witnessing. On May 8, voters can fix the gerrymandering problem in Ohio by voting yes on Issue 1.
The language for Issue 1 came from negotiation and compromise between state senators, including Matt Huffman, and members of the Fair Districts/Fair Elections coalition, which had already gathered over 220,000 signatures for a November ballot initiative to change how Ohio’s congressional districts are drawn. If voters approve Issue 1, federal congressional districts will be drawn with input from both major political parties, with guidelines that will eliminate the worst excesses of gerrymandering. The process will be transparent and allow for input from citizens. Placing Issue 1 on the ballot was strongly approved by both Democrats and Republicans. The ballot language can be found here: www.sos.state.oh.us
A yes vote on Issue 1 is a vote for fair elections, better representation, and moderation and bipartisan cooperation in politics. It deserves your vote on May 8.
Beth Sutton-Ramspeck, Lima
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