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Ohio Redistricting 2021: The Fight for Fair Maps

Ohio Environmental Council, April 1, 2021

STAY TUNED: WE WILL NEED YOUR VOICE IN THE CONTINUED FIGHT FOR FAIR MAPS

The Ohio Redistricting Commission’s gerrymandered state legislative map was approved on September 15, in a 5 – 2 party line split creating a four-year map instead of ten-year map. The gerrymandered map represents a flawed democracy and will hinder efforts to fight for environmental justice in Ohio.

We cannot repeat the travesty we just witnessed with the Ohio Redistricting Commission when they created our state legislative maps. The Congressional process is next and Ohio’s democracy needs your help. We must demand our state representatives vote for fair congressional districts to represent Ohioans in Congress.

 


PROCESS UPDATES

The OEC is a member of the Equal Districts Coalition, advocating for fair and equal districts that ensure communities across Ohio properly represent themselves in the Ohio Statehouse and in Congress.

The OEC is also proud to support the efforts of the Ohio Citizens’ Redistricting Commission (OCRC), an independent non-partisan commission made up of Ohioans from a variety of backgrounds, regions, and communities. This diverse grassroots commission has supported public education on redistricting, facilitated citizen engagement in community map-making activities, and held public hearings in a wide range of communities to provide robust public input throughout Ohio’s 2021 redistricting process. 

In late August 2021, the commission produced Unity Maps for Ohio’s state legislature.  The maps focused on upholding the constitutional amendment passed by Ohioans in 2015 and preserving communities of interest within one district.

To learn more about the OCRC’s process in creating its Unity Maps, visit its website.


A HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT NEEDS A HEALTH DEMOCRACY

So why is the redistricting process vital to ensuring a fair democracy and a healthy environment?

It’s no secret that Ohio’s congressional and state legislative district maps are gerrymandered. For too long, politicians have rigged Ohio’s electoral maps to preserve political power and silence the voice of our communities. Because of these maps, our legislators often fail to respond to Ohio voters’ views on pressing issues like renewable energy and the fight against climate change.

Fortunately, in 2015 and 2018, Ohio voters decisively rejected partisan gerrymandering. Ohioans voted for two redistricting reform measures that will help guide the drawing of Ohio’s new legislative and congressional districts.

The importance of fair maps that truly represent Ohio’s communities cannot be understated. Without a fair and truly representative democracy, Ohioans will continue to face environmental injustices from big polluters. With solid maps, the General Assembly and our Congressional delegation will amplify the voices of Ohioans. Together, we can secure healthy air, land, and water for all who call Ohio home.

Building on our team effort to get all Ohioans counted in the census, the OEC will continue to work with partners to demand a transparent, inclusive, and fair redistricting process. 

There are many opportunities to get involved in this important process: learn more about the intersection of environment and democracy, build your own map, and connect with your elected officials to share why fair districts matter to you.

This is a once-in-a-decade moment to set the course for forward-thinking environmental policies in Ohio. Our work today will set the stage for accountability and advocacy beyond 2021. When we create fair, competitive, and representative district maps, Ohioans set the stage for a decade of pragmatic environmental policy. I hope you’ll join us in these important efforts to create fair districts for Ohio in the months to come.