YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The process of redistricting Ohio begins Friday at 9 a.m., when Governor Mike DeWine convenes the first meeting of the Ohio Redistricting Commission.
But the public process has already started, and continued Monday night in downtown Youngstown, as one group presented its ideas, including where Mahoning and Trumbull Counties should go.
A group from Columbus stopped by downtown Youngstown Monday afternoon to advocate for fairer voting districts across the state of Ohio.
Their plan faces some challenges but could also lead to a very different voting map for the Valley in 2022.
“If the districts aren’t fair, we’re not being represented, period,” said Jaladah Aslam, President of Youngstown-Warren Black Caucus.
That was the message behind the presentation from All on the Line, a group looking for a more representative government in Ohio.
“Over the last 10 years, Ohioans have been denied any real form of adequate, political representation. Republicans have only won about 55% of the state-wide vote share,” said Katy Shanahan, state director of All on the Line.
Currently, Republicans hold two-thirds of the seats in the combined Ohio State House and Senate. A commission was recently called for by Governor DeWine to draw new districts.
By a joint resolution, the new design is supposed to keep counties, townships and towns together.
Advocates believe that if the rules are followed, a fairer map will be made.
“You would see less of us just cramming as many Democrats into as few districts as possible and would see a much more representative districts that would allow more voters an opportunity to elect representatives of their choosing,” Shanahan said.
“There’s not reason, for example, for Lisbon and Warren to really have the same representative,” Aslam said.
The Valleys 13th District could change, with all of Mahoning county, 90% of Trumbull County and all of Stark County in the same district.
However, there is no law requiring lawmakers to pass a map made by the commission.
Lawmakers could pass any other map so long as they claim it is racially and politically fair. Aslam has some advice for concerned voters.
“You need to go and voice your concerns, testify and make sure you’re represented,” he said. “The maps are going to be drawn, even if it’s just another four years of messed up maps.”