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Gerrymandering Ohio is stifling democracy

DEAR EDITOR:

Once again, the will of the people is being ignored by our state government.

In a state where we vote about 54 percent Republican and 46 percent Democrat, our legislative branches are between 65 to 75 percent Republican due to the current gerrymandering of state districts. Our U.S. Congress representatives are 75 percent Republican. This has led to a state government that is very far right.

Their actions are anti-science and pro-gun to the point that outside observers wonder what has happened to middle-of-the-road Ohio. In national news reports, this Ohio legislature has been labeled the most corrupt legislature in the nation, following the HB6 bribery.

In 2015, voters overwhelmingly approved a new constitutional amendment to reduce gerrymandering. This process was supposed to have public input and more transparency, neither of which was accomplished. The secretive process used by the Republicans produced maps that do not fix the lop-sided representation.

Their efforts did not improve the maps except in reducing the wild shape of districts, possibly giving an even larger majority of the districts to Republicans. Our local elected officials Sandra O’Brien, Mike Loychik, Michael Rulli and Al Cutrona — all voted for these maps. Both Gov. Mike DeWine and Secretary of State Frank LaRose speculated the results were unconstitutional. But in spite of that, DeWine approved the maps Nov. 20.

Various groups appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court to review the constitutionality of the approved maps. The Supreme Court justices include Gov. DeWine’s son, Patrick, who should recuse himself from these cases. The process has been fumbled and delayed so many times that we will probably be stuck with these maps for the next four years, when the redistricting will start over again.

Four more years where many voters do not have a voice, and Republicans have a super-majority that cannot be overcome.

Is this democracy?

CATHY PHIFER

Warren

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