Case Study: Ohio

GOP Governor Gerrymanders with “Encouragement from House Speaker John Boehner”

The 2010 election “put Republican Governor John Kasich and his conservative allies in charge of the Ohio redistricting process.” They quickly went to work drawing lines that would maximize the Republican’s electoral advantage. Gov. Kasich’s even received “encouragement from House Speaker John Boehner” in his quest to reduce the number of Democratic districts.

Unfortunately, John Boehner got his wish and Ohio eliminated one Democratic seat thanks to the map approved by Republican Governor John Kasich.  The GOP’s own redistricting report said that “with the election of Republican John Kasich to the governor’s mansion, the GOP controlled the redrawing of 132 state legislative and 16 congressional districts.”

Pulling off this partisan trick, however, required some inventive map-making. MSNBC called one of the new Democratic districts “an overcooked noodle of a district” that actually is only contiguous at low tide. The lines drawn by Kasich and his Tea Party legislature pack Democrats into just four districts and split the remaining Democrats into 12 districts. These gerrymandering techniques are known as ‘packing’ and ‘cracking’ districts.

The GOP’s map distorts and disadvantages Ohio voters to a devastating effect. Despite the fact that Ohio is one of the most competitive states in the country — Barack Obama received 50% of the vote in 2012 — Republicans now control 75% of the state’s congressional seats.

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