COLUMBUS, Ohio — The League of Women Voters of Ohio released a report Wednesday showing gerrymandered legislative districts delivered nearly perfect results in 2012 and 2014, sending candidates of the intended political party to the Statehouse in almost 100 percent of cases.
The league, a longtime advocate for voting fairness, used its "Predictable Results II" report to urge support for Issue 1, a fall ballot issue overhauling Ohio's system for drawing district maps.
"There has been 100 percent accuracy in the Ohio Senate races we had in 2012 and 2014. No districts, zero, were won by the party not favored by the maps," said Carrie Davis, the league's executive director. "And, once again, you see elections that were won by very large margins, a significant portion of them where candidates were so heavily favored that they were unopposed. The opposing party didn't even field a candidate."
The report found the same pattern, to 97 percent or 98 percent accuracy, in the Ohio House for the two cycles. Ohio's congressional maps — not the subject of this fall's ballot measure but of separate legislation — also delivered 100 percent accuracy to the party favored to win each district.
Environmental, farming, faith, progressive policy, voting advocacy and good government groups joined Wednesday's event to also back Issue 1. Most said a fairer, more transparent system will make Ohioans' votes more significant and help elect a Legislature more responsive to mainstream public opinion in the state, for example on issues such as abortion access and climate change.
The report's release was timed to coincide with the 95th anniversary of women's right to vote being enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.
Davis said passing Issue 1 is only half of the reform needed, calling for extending the system overhaul to drawing congressional districts.
Republican Sen. Frank LaRose, co-sponsor of a resolution that would do that, conceded Wednesday that it will be a difficult task, with some influential members of his own party opposed. His resolution, co-sponsored by Democratic Sen. Tom Sawyer, would place an issue on the 2016 ballot asking voters to apply rules laid out in this year's overhaul to congressional redistricting.
Predictable Results II: http://bit.ly/1i23X4y
Fair Districts For Ohio: http://fairdistrictsohio.com