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Redistricting should serve voters, not politicians

DEAR EDITOR:

The way our districts are drawn has a major impact on the strength of our democracy. Fair districts ensure that voters’ voices are heard and that our elected officials are accountable to their constituents.

Here in Ohio, we know how unfair districts contribute to a broken political system. Look no further than Trumbull County, which is broken into two U.S. Congressional Districts. Northern Trumbull County voted 74 percent for Dave Joyce in the last election, but Joyce rarely advocates for the needs of Trumbull County. As a result, the voices of communities are underrepresented on the national stage.

In 2011, Republicans in Columbus controlled the redistricting process. They schemed, in a so-called “bunker” in a downtown Columbus hotel, about how to best draw the maps to favor their party.

In 2018, Ohioans voted overwhelmingly for reforms to the redistricting process. This included a larger commission to decide the districts and guidelines that sought to prevent partisan gerrymandering. But, with Republicans continuing to hold a supermajority in the state legislature, these new reforms can be undermined.

We need to create districts at every level that allow Ohioans to be heard. Districts that are barely congruent and divide our state’s counties and regions serve politicians, not voters. This should not be a partisan issue. We all should stand for districts that encourage competition, accountability and fair representation; they are what foster a vibrant democracy.

TOM SHAY

Leavittsburg

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