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Politics

State Lawmakers, Voting Rights Groups To Host Redistricting Town Hall On Tuesday

Sen. Hearcel Craig (D-Columbus) talks about property tax increase caps.
Sen. Hearcel Craig (D-Columbus) will host a town hall on redistricting Tuesday at the Columbus Public Library.

State lawmakers and voting rights groups will host a town hall Tuesday night about Ohio’s redistricting process.

The Ohio Redistricting Commission missed its deadline last week to introduce a state legislative map for public consideration. Commissioners will likely share their proposal by the end of this week, just days before a September 15 final deadline.

Jen Miller, the director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio, said the town hall will raise awareness ahead of a separate effort to draw congressional boundaries.

“My sincere hope is that the public will be excited to be engaged in the process and that they will use their voice to call for fair maps that truly represent their needs, rather than the needs of political parties or individual candidates," Miller said.

Miller said that Ohio's history of partisan gerrymandering leads to election outcomes favoring the party who draws the lines.

"Some votes are diluted because of the way the map is drawn," she said. "It's rigged mathematically to assure partisan outcomes or secure seats for individual candidates."

As district lines are redrawn every 10 years, Miller said this week is a once-in-a-decade opportunity for the public to have a say in how the new map is drawn, which will have significant consequences.

"The way these lines are drawn will determine how resources are divided among our communities, as well as the policies that the Ohio General Assembly and our congressional delegation support or don't support,” she said.

The event is hosted by State Sen. Hearcel Craig (D-Columbus) of Columbus, who will be joined by State Rep. Mary Lightbody (D-Westerville). Also joining will be Desiree Tims, president and CEO of Innovation Ohio, Katy Shanahan, state director of All on the Line; and Rev. Joel King, Jr., the first vice president of NAACP Columbus.

The town hall takes place this evening from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the main branch of the Columbus Public Library, 96 South Grant Ave., Columbus, OH 43215.