Columbus DSA Statement on Redistricting

With the failure of the Redistricting Commission to meet yet another deadline, the state of Ohio is in a constitutional crisis. Redistricting is an inherently undemocratic act. Drawing arbitrary borders decade by decade determining which communities, municipalities, and counties are “together”, and therefore represented by a single person, always disenfranchises someone. The votes of entire communities are discarded from both the state legislature and U.S. Congress as party insiders draw boundaries to benefit themselves and only themselves. In Ohio, those in the Statehouse pick their voters, creating an undemocratic system of one-party rule which has passed reactionary laws the majority of Ohioans do not want or support.

Now, as of the last Redistricting Commission meeting, every voter in the state is being discarded, as Ohio’s “leaders” fail – for a third time – to create any map at all, plunging our state into a constitutional crisis just months before this year’s Primary. What limited voting rights our communities do have are further being eroded, and our representation at both the state and federal level is now uncertain. Picking their voters was apparently not enough, and now the Statehouse has left us in political limbo completely ignoring what Ohioans called for in 2018: fair representation. It is clear that the solution offered in 2018 is not enough, and Ohio’s legislative and executive leaders will stop at nothing to solidify their own power at the expense of working Ohioans.

The power of choosing our representatives must be taken away from those already in power and given back to the voters. Redistricting will not do this, no matter how you constitute a committee to draw the lines. “Fair maps” are not possible, and those in power will always create
a system to maintain their power and disenfranchise whoever they must to achieve their ends.

The only answer to solve Ohio’s current crisis is proportional representation. Proportional representation is a truly democratic system where every vote is heard and legislative seats are proportionally determined by the number of votes cast, not undemocratic, first-past-the-post districts arbitrarily determined every decade. A system not based on power, but a system based on math that fairly represents every vote. No communities will be disenfranchised, no party may determine their voters, and Ohioans will be one step closer to having a representative body that truly shares their interests.

Therefore, we call for an end to the redistricting fight and for Ohioans to support a system of proportional representation to determine our elected members in the General Assembly and Ohio’s Representatives to the U.S. House. We call for the Ohio General Assembly to make the necessary changes to create such a system for the 2022 election, and we call on the Redistricting Committee to publicly support and facilitate those changes immediately.

Democracy will not be given to us; we – the voters – must fight for it. The power to be represented by our government, not a government represented by entrenched party politics, must be fought for, and we call for all Ohioans to join us in the fight for proportional representation.

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