The state’s districts are redrawn every 10 years based on the latest U.S. Census data. The goal of the realignment is to make sure there is fair representation in Congress and the Statehouse.
The state’s redistricting process started late this summer, and Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted unveiled a website called ReshapeOhio.org that allows Ohioans to try their hand at redrawing their own districts.
“With the online mapping tool, Ohioans can redraw the districts themselves. This is a great opportunity for Ohioans and Farm Bureau members to get involved and give some input on how the lines should be shaped,” said Doug Foxx, Ohio Farm Bureau’s director of political education.
The secretary of state’s website urged Ohioans to submit their redrawn state legislative maps for consideration to the Apportionment Board, which is in charge of redrawing state House and Senate districts. The Apportionment Board, which next meets Sept. 26, has an Oct. 5 deadline to release the new districts, which will be in effect for the 2012 election cycle.
Ohio has 99 House districts and 33 Senate districts (comprised of three House districts). The target population for each House district is 116,530 and 349,591 for each Senate district. The districts can be no more than 5 percent above or below those target numbers.
For the congressional districts, the state legislature is in charge of redrawing the boundaries and does not have a statutory deadline, but they will likely complete their work this fall. Because the 2010 Census shows Ohio’s population growth was lower than other states, through redistricting Ohio will lose two of its 18 congressional districts. The target population for each congressional district is 721,032. The population must be “as equal as practicable,” according to the legislature.
Redistricting is important in Ohio because the state is typically evenly split between the two major political parties and usually is a battleground state in the presidential elections, Foxx said.
“This is an important process that Farm Bureau members can become involved in,” he said. “Sometimes people don’t like the way their districts are shaped, and using the mapping tool at ReshapeOhio.org is a great opportunity to provide input to the apportionment board and state legislature on how the boundaries should be drawn.”