Five years ago, few people in Ohio were paying close attention to the claim that political consultants – armed with partisan power, increasingly sophisticated computer technology and big data – were in a position to hijack democracy. Critics like Carrie Davis of the League of Women Voters looked at Congressional maps, drawn largely in secrecy by Republican state lawmakers, and issued a warning. “Voters are ignored and made to feel as if their voice doesn’t count,” Davis said. “Communities are carved up so that they don’t have a Congress-person who truly represents them. Members of Congress are frequently threatened with being ‘primaried’ by the extremes of their own party.” But voters repeatedly turned down proposals to change the system. That may be changing – not just in Ohio, but around the country.
A Wisconsin case is before the U.S. Supreme Court. A voter initiative is underway in Michigan. Lawmakers are debating change in Pennsylvania. And California has replaced politicians with a citizen commission.
In Ohio, voters reset who draws Statehouse districts in 2015. Now, Ohio’s Congressional map is the target of the next redistricting reform campaign.