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Advocates Encourage Public to be Ready As Ohio Redistricting Commission Announces Ten Public Hearings

Color-coded map of current legislative districts in Ohio that will be redrawn before the 2022 midterm elections.
The current map of districts in the Ohio House of Representatives.

Newly released census data shows that the population in most Northeast Ohio counties has changed little from 2010.

The census numbers usually come out in March but were delayed by the pandemic.

The data will be used to redraw legislative and congressional districts.

Fair Districts Ohio wants to ensure that new maps are not drawn for partisan benefit, or gerrymandered.

Mia Lewis from FDO says that it’s important to have the public involved in the redistricting process.

“Ohioans want to know that this process is being done with the end in mind of having a strong democracy," Lewis said. "And Ohio citizens being able to elect representatives who will truly represent them.”

Lewis encourages people to follow the Ohio Redistricting Commission which should soon accept maps and public testimonies from citizens.

Ohio’s new process requires the redistricting commission to hold a minimum of three public hearings on new maps.

Lewis says the hearings are meant to ensure fair districts.

Mia Lewis on redistricting hearings

"Those would be hearings that would be before there are proposed maps," said Lewis. "But then we also need to have hearings after there are proposed maps."

Lewis says it’s important for the public to be able to have a say in the redistricting process.

The Commission has a deadline of September 1 for legislative districts and September 30 for Congressional districts.

Both deadlines can be extended.

But if the Commission fails to make a plan by those extensions, the General Assembly will have a deadline of November 30th to create new maps.

On Friday, the Ohio Redistricting Commission released information about ten planned public hearings:

  • Monday, Aug. 23, 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., Cleveland State University
    Monday, Aug. 23, 2:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m., Youngstown State University
  • Tuesday, Aug. 24, 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., Sinclair Community College
    Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m., University of Cincinnati
  • Wednesday, Aug. 25, 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., Ohio University - Zanesville
    Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m., Rio Grande Community College
  • Thursday, Aug. 26, 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., Ohio State University – Lima
    Thursday, Aug. 26, 2:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m., University of Toledo
  • Friday, Aug. 27, 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., University of Akron
    Friday, Aug. 27, 2:30 - 5:30 p.m., Ohio State University – Mansfield

Rachel Gross is a senior journalism major in the Kent State School of Media and Journalism and will be graduating Fall 2021. She is the current general manager of the student-run TV station on Kent State’s campus, TV2, and has covered major political events for the station such as the Presidential Debate in Cleveland. With her minor being in political science, she hopes to work in the political news field after graduation.