Saturday, October 01, 2005

 

Carved to pieces: how Franklin & Hamilton counties gets screwed in the re-districting game.

To recap, the current rules allow Ohio politicians to draw congressional districts (and other legislative boundaries) in Ohio in a self-serving three-step process:

1) Decide how many seats to “forfeit” to the minority party
2) Cram as many voters for the minority party as possible into the forfeited districts
3) Dilute or “crack” the remaining minority votes in the remaining districts

Supporters of the current system have oddly complained that this explanation, as outlined in a previous post, is wrong because we failed to mention that the population of all districts has to be more or less the same.

Our response: They’re right, but so what? Calculating what 1/18th of the population is hardly a political mind-bender. But, for the purists, cretins and Republican in-breds in the audience we hereby acknowledge that steps 1-3 must be accomplished while maintaining equal populations in the district.

And for the record, that number is about 630,000 per district based on the 2000 census.

We mention that number as an appropriate segue into the real point of this post: Franklin County, Hamilton County other metropolitan areas are the victims of Republican redistricting butchery that rob these regions and their populations – particularly African Americans – of the political power they deserve.

In our post about the outrages of redistricting in Ohio as a whole, we said that it’s impossible to get the real picture unless you take a step back and see the big picture. But, with counties, it helps to focus on more micro issues.

The appropriate place to start is with the size of Franklin County. In 2000, it had a population of 1.09 million residents. Using the above-mentioned yardstick of 630,000 per district Franklin County, by itself, is the equivalent of one entire congressional district and three-quarters of another.

FranklinCo_CD_map

Yet, Franklin County doesn’t even have one CD to call its own. As the map above shows, the Republican long knives neatly carved the county into three jigsaw pieces that are each annexed to groupings of outlying counties dominated by suburban and rural interests. And, its pretty clear that in most cases, the surrounding counties are kept whole.

The same scam if foisted upon Hamilton County. With a population of 814,611 in 2000, it had more enough citizens to qualify it for a CD.

HamiltonCo_CD_map

Instead we find that it, too, is filleted like a Lake Erie perch, lumping roughly half of the county into the 1st CD and half into the 2nd CD, effectively emasculating the county, and, like in Franklin County, making it a slave to the suburbs and exurbs.

The issue of African American voters in these counties is an important one – one that strikes fear into the Republican Party and one that certainly is behind the absurd district lines drawn in these counties.

In both cases, there is a potential of about 145,000 black voters. Obviously, we’re not talking about a monolithic group, but from a politicians point of view they would represent (for a change) a huge bloc whose interests could not be ignored.

But as things stand now, Ohio’s current redistricting system allows the largest and the third-largest counties to be robbed of the voice in Congress they deserve.

We challenge any Kevin DeWine wannabees to defend this situation.

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