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The League of Women Voters of Metropolitan Columbus

News

Redistricting report uncovers concerted effort at secrecy

Monday, Dec. 12, 2011

This morning, the Ohio Campaign for Accountable Redistricting (OCAR) released a comprehensive transparency report on Ohio’s redistricting process. The independent group graded state officials a D minus on transparency.

The report, entitled “The Elephant in the Room,” documents a number of backroom activities which had not been publicly disclosed, including:

“We are trying to shine a light on what took place in the political backrooms, since very little took place in public,” stated Jim Slagle, Manager of the OCAR.

The report was generated after reviewing thousands of pages of records obtained through public record requests. OCAR is a coalition of 25 Ohio organizations, led by the League of Women Voters of Ohio and Ohio Citizen Action, which has promoted public involvement in the congressional and legislative redistricting process.

The report also contains the following findings:

State officials are still withholding various public records, as seven different record requests have still not been honored. For more than a month Democratic and Republican officials have exchanged possible maps to resolve the standoff over Ohio’s congressional districts. However, House Speaker William Batchelder and Minority Leader Armond Budish have failed to release the maps which have been exchanged in private.

“If the politicians were creating districts which benefited the public, they wouldn’t have anything to hide,” Slagle stated. “Instead, we are seeing districts manipulated in the backrooms, so that the winning candidates can be determined before the votes are ever cast. Politicians are choosing their voters instead of the other way around.”