For weeks in 2011, state-paid contractors, on leave from their public jobs for Republican lawmakers, worked secretly in a hotel room described as the “bunker” to create political maps aimed at creating safe Republican districts for most of Ohio’s congressional delegation.
The maps, drawn in part with guidance from national Republican Party leaders and the staff of U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner, often disregarded community concerns and instead focused on political gains by creating districts that in some cases weave more than 100 miles across the state. It worked. In three election cycles since, no seat has changed party hands – a 12-4 GOP majority despite a much closer overall vote.
These details of what went on behind the scenes were first disclosed in a report by the Ohio League of Women Voters and Common Cause of Ohio in 2011. The groups drew from dozens of public records obtained after the fact.
he League of Women Voters last week released an updated version of the report, calling it Ohio’s Gerrymandering Problem: Why Haven’t We Fixed This Yet?