Pretty much everything any Ohioan wants to know about reshaping the U.S. Congressional and General Assembly boundaries in the Buckeye State can be found at www.reshapeohio.org.
The site is meant to serve as a guide for anyone wanting to know more about the process for creating the new districts. It includes an interactive map to draw your own legislative districts.
The General Assembly is responsible for redrawing the U.S. Congressional District boundaries while the Apportionment Board - Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Secretary of State Jon Husted, Auditor Dave Yost, Senate Majority Leader Tom Niehaus and House Minority Leader Armond Budish - is responsible for the new state legislative districts.
In both instances, Republican's control the pencil.
Reshapeohio.org, in addition to the wealth of information on the processes, gives John Q. and Jane Q. Public the opportunity to use the same technology our leaders will use to redraw the boundaries using 2010 Census data and Maptitude, a web-based map drawing program.
There, anyone can redraw the Ohio House and Senate and the federal congressional boundaries, plus submit a plan for new state legislative districts to be considered by the apportionment board.
Submissions must be made by noon Sept. 23. The apportionment board's plan must be published for view by Oct. 1 and approved by Oct. 5.
Meanwhile, the apportionment board, or proxy members, will take their show on the road next week with a hearing at Youngstown State University.
It's 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday inside Kilcawley Center, and the public is encouraged to attend. If you can't attend, there also are meetings the same day from 9 to 11 a.m. at Cleveland State University and 1 to 3 p.m. at the University of Akron.
Also close by is a hearing from 9 to 11 a.m. Wednesday at Walsh University in Canton.
Separately, the effort to redraw Ohio's U.S. Congressional boundaries is moving forward, too.
Testimony taken at five locations across Ohio - Columbus, Zanesville, Cleveland, Lima and Cincinnati - is complete and the State Government and Elections Committee's subcommittee on redistricting has invited Ohioans to join them in drawing new maps, said the subcommittee's ranking Democrat, state Rep. Tom Letson of Warren.
The committee's job has taken on added importance this cycle (boundaries, federal and state are redrawn after the census every 10 years) because Ohio is losing two congressional seats. Instead of 18, it will have 16.
It happened because Ohio's loss of population and means probably that one Republican district and one Democratic district will be eliminated, while Republicans try to shore-up GOP-held districts that could go either way. As for whose district, that's still speculation.
Another site that allows Ohioans to redraw the congressional boundaries is drawthelinemidwest.org/ohio. It can be accessed through the League of Women Voters of Ohio website at lwvohio.org.