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Lines in the sand: Blackwell urges citizen participation

Do you want to take an active role in Ohio government and shape the political landscape for the next 10 years?<!—->.

Sunday, August 05, 2001

Do you want to take an active role in Ohio government and shape the political landscape for the next 10 years?

Do you have a computer and access to the Internet? If so, then draw your own map and decide what state congressional and senate district you want to live in.

With many homes having access to PCs and cyberspace, most people have the tools to draw the Ohio House and Senate lines themselves, and Ohio’s Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell will soon launch on his website the information Ohioans need to draw their own lines.

Blackwell is a member of the Apportionment Board, a group which has authority by the Ohio Constitution to redraw district lines after each census. In addition to Blackwell, Gov. Bob Taft, Auditor Jim Petro and a legislator from each political party is on the board, a 4-1 GOP favored board.

Although the board will draft its own lines, and Democrats will no doubt be scurrying to submit their own plans, Blackwell is urging private citizens to participate by drafting their own lines dividing the state into Ohio’s 99 House and 33 Senate districts.

In addition to providing census information, map-making software can be downloaded from the website.

Blackwell is also taking the political cartography show on the road. His office will present workshops around the state to provide citizens with the information needed to make a map.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Blackwell said he expects several non-governmental agencies to request information on redrawing the district lines. He said advances in technology has allowed citizens to become more active in the political process. Blackwell said, "I think the degree to which new and fair and practical information is offered, … I think it stands a decent chance of being reviewed and possibly adopted.”

Want to know more?

The Ohio Secretary of State’s website is located at http://www.state.oh.us/sos/