There just seems to be something inherently unfair about how Ohio draws its congressional district lines, a process that, in 2011, was controlled by Republicans in the Ohio General Assembly. Historically, it’s never mattered what party was in control of the process – Republicans draw districts that favor their party; Democrats draw lines that favor their party. But this 2011 re-draw of congressional districts in Ohio was a doozy. The Republican legislature drew lines that all but guaranteed that Republicans would hold three-fourths of the state’s congressional districts until at least the year 2022. Under current law, the majority party in the legislature draws the congressional district lines every 10 years after the U.S. Census; and there is not a whole lot the minority can do about it.
Here’s the practical result: In 2012, the first election under the present districts, 47 percent of Ohio voters cast ballots for a Democratic candidate for the U.S. House. About 51 percent cast ballots for Republican candidates. That would result in an Ohio delegation that was nearly evenly split, right? Maybe seven Democrats and nine Republicans, or maybe even an eight-eight split.
Because of how the GOP drew the lines, the Republicans won 12 seats – 75 percent of the total – while the Democrats won only four. And it has been the same result in the two subsequent U.S. House elections in 2014 and 2016.