• 63°

State issues rules to redraw districts

With Ohio’s Secretary of State, J.

Wednesday, August 08, 2001

With Ohio’s Secretary of State, J. Kenneth Blackwell, urging residents to take government into their own hands and help redraw lines for the 99 House and 33 Senate districts, it’s important for would-be political cartographers to know rules associated with dividing legislative areas.

So, what are the requirements?

For one, House districts are usually divided into populations of 114,678 people. Then, three House districts are combined to make one Senate district. With map-making software computer users can download and census data Blackwell has promised to place on his web site, users will be able to click and drag district lines to make the populations equal to within 5 percent of the target of 114,678 per House district.

The Ohio Constitution also requires cities and counties, where possible, be held together in one district.

Even though users follow these rules, it should be noted that redistricting comes under close scrutiny. In the 1990s, the Supreme Court weighed in on 12 cases of redistricting with the majority of the cases dealing with districts that primarily are made up of minorities.

Although Blackwell’s web site has yet to provide the map-making software, the same information government officials will use to draw lines can already be obtained from the Census Bureau.

The redistricting file, which can be downloaded from the Census Bureau’s Web site, consists of four tables: the first shows the population for each of 63 single and multiple race categories; the second shows the total Hispanic or Latino population and the population not of Hispanic or Latino origin cross-tabulated by the 63 race categories.

To access the information from the Census Bureau can be accessed at http://www.census.gov/dmd/www/2khome.htm and follow the links to the information.

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