Editorial: More urgency needed on Ohio redistricting

Editorial from the Youngstown Vindicator:

Elected officials and bureaucrats are not known for their sense of urgency in getting things done. For the most part, they operate in a world that would make those working in the private sector wonder what to do with all that free time.

Their inexperience in that department showed last week when the Ohio Redistricting Commission met for the first time … for less than 20 minutes.

Bear in mind, the group has until Sept. 1 to adopt a redistricting plan for state legislative districts and Sept. 30 for congressional districts. They have a lot to get done in a short time (necessary Census Bureau data was not released until Thursday), AND they must hold constitutionally required public meetings on the matter.

So how much work did they get done in that first session? Gov. Mike DeWine called the commission to order, announced the appointment of members and handed over business to House Speaker Bob Cupp, R-Lima, and state Sen. Vernon Sykes, D-Akron.

That’s about it. No announcement of planned times and dates for those public hearings, no prep work for receiving the data … nothing.

“It’s disappointing that the 18 minutes that we got from this commission just 25 days before our first map deadline and six days before data drops, we got no clear schedule about when they’re going to hear from members of the public about this process,” said Katy Shanahan, of the Equal Districts Coalition and state director of All On the Line Ohio, according to the Ohio Capital Journal.

Imagine knowing how much is on the line for the people you represent and thinking to yourself, “No rush.”

Ohioans shouldn’t let the lack of urgency spread. Keep an eye out for the times and dates of those public hearings, folks, and don’t miss the opportunity to make your voice heard.

— Youngstown Vindicator, Aug. 13