Extreme Gerrymandering In Ohio Called Out

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CNN’s Reality Check w/John Avlon did a segment(11/19/21) featuring an extreme gerrymandering case currently playing out in Ohio. Back in 2018, Ohio voters overwhelmingly backed(75%) an amendment to the state’s constitution that would ensure redistricting was carried out in a bipartisan fashion. Ohio’s congressional district maps were to be drawn by a bipartisan 7-member redistricting commission. The idea behind a bipartisan redistricting commission was quite simple–to create competitive district maps which would in turn reduce political polarization. Basically, politicians will shy away from radical ideas/conduct if they know they can be easily beaten at the polls.

Well, it turns out Ohio Republicans have since reneged on their support for a bipartisan redistricting commission, and are now using the Republican-led state legislature to come up with an extremely gerrymandered map, one that will give them a 13-2 advantage in congressional seats(86%R-14%D), even though Trump’s 2020 win in Ohio was only 53%-45%. No reasonable person would ever conclude that Ohio is an 86R-14D state, yet this is exactly what the new congressional map being pushed by state Republicans attempts to achieve–a total fraud and willful disenfranchisement of Democratic-leaning voters.

Even more repugnant is the way the Republican-led Ohio state legislature ended up being responsible for drawing the congressional maps. According to John Avlon, Republican members of the bipartisan redistricting commission simply refused to show up for duty, thereby crippling the commission because it was unable to convene meetings. With the bipartisan commission deliberately crippled, the redistricting job fell back to the partisan Ohio legislature, which drew the extremely gerrymandered map–a sad state of affairs indeed.

John Avlon said: “Ohio Republicans just decided to disregard the state constitution and the will of the voters. A seven-member redistricting commission had a month to work on a fair map, but Republican members refused to participate, and so the commission couldn’t convene. The power to draw the lines fell back to the Republican-controlled state assembly, who proceeded to do exactly what the constitutional amendment forbade. They cracked and packed minority communities, dividing counties and cities for their own partisan advantage. For example, Hamilton County, home to Cincinnati, which voted for[President] Biden by a 16-point margin, will be divided into 3 congressional districts, with Black voters offset by White Republicans.”

This is just the latest example of how state Republicans are actively disenfranchising Democratic-leaning/minority voters while Democrats in Washington are still dithering over abolishing the filibuster, and coming up with a federal voting rights law. A federal voting rights law is the only solution to the rampant GOP gerrymandering.

Bottom line folks, time is of the essence. Democrats need to abolish the filibuster immediately and pass a federal voting rights law. The two Senate holdouts, Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin, must be confronted with this troubling Ohio gerrymandering case, and be forced to explain why a filibuster carve out for a federal voting legislation is not the appropriate way to go, given the dire circumstances.

For those of you very happy with @Emolclause’s activism don’t shy away from the “tip jar” below on your way out.

You may reach the author via email at administrator@grassrootsdempolitics.com or author@emolumentsclause.com

Democrats Introduce HR1 “ForThePeople” Act

In case you missed it House Democrats recently introduced HR1 dubbed “ForThePeople” Act , their first bold bill which seeks to tackle among other things GOP’s culture of corruption and rampant gerrymandering. For detailed information on HR1, please refer to the hearings below shared by Speaker Pelosi on her Twitter page.

A lot of grassroots Democrats get lost in the Washington/mainstream media weeds which is why Yours Truly goes out of his way to break things down as much as possible to ensure every voter gets it, a good example being the famous “Handy Lists”. Therefore rather than go into the specific details of HR1, which you can already find on Speaker Pelosi’s Tweet above and various sections of the mainstream media, we will instead point out the main issues powering HR1 which grassroots Democrats need to know. These are the main issues Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats seek to address with HR1–“ForThePeople” Act;

End partisan gerrymandering for congressional districts

Make election day a federal holiday

Guarantee early voting dates

Establish a nationwide voter registration

Stop purging of voters by state Secretaries of State

Ensure the President and Supreme Court Justices are subject to the same ethics and non-corruption rules as other public officials

End flow of anonymous money into campaigns by forcing “dark money” groups and super PACS to disclose their donors

Require presidential and vice-presidential candidates to release their tax returns

In the coming days and weeks we will dive into the specifics of these key planks of HR1 and as usual, create a “Handy List” of GOP members of congress who stall its progress. There’s a very good chance most if not all of HR1 provisions will pass in the House but stall in the U.S. Senate therefore expect a lot of handy lists of GOP Senators.

Bottom line HR1 is a brave bold initiative by Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats and yet another reminder as to why voting matters. Thanks to the huge Dem voter turnout in November 2018, Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats are now embarking on addressing issues that are near and dear to grassroots Democrats hearts, especially voting rights. This is just the beginning. We must make sure we stay engaged with House Democrats but more importantly work harder to take over the U.S. Senate in 2020.

For those of you very happy with @Emolclause’s activism don’t shy away from the “tip jar” below on your way out. 

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