Peebles Elementary hosts PBIS showcase NAES student starting Christmas Card project Try and tell them that nobody cares Senior Profile: Ethan Thompson 15-point lead vanishes, Hounds fall in season opener Deer Gun Season results down all across Ohio Hometown Christmas in Peebles rings in the holiday season Manchester Elementary receives 2016 Momentum Award Drug bust in West Union Stephen C Foster Donna Rivers WUES students perform as part of Honor Choir Ohio Brush Creek Canoe/Kayak access completed Hall of Fame Christmas in Portsmouth Thyme to trim the Christmas Tree Junior High Lady Hounds get season-opening sweep Lady Devils roll past Paint Valley in season opener Senior Profile: Jessica Johnson Michael E Roberts Sr Evelyn L Jones Thomas M Calvert Ryan, Sowards lead Lady Indians to easy win in season opener, 57-36 over Felicity Senior Profile: Wes Hayslip Justice off to hot start at VSU County boys’ squads on display in annual SHAC Preview Night ‘Operation Christmas Child’ collects 1,707 shoe boxes for needy children Two animal cruelty cases investigated in Adams County DP&L considers closing power-generating plants in county Holiday spirit makes an early appearance in Adams County Chester A Mann Jeffrey A Daley Sr Michael G Tincher DAR sponsors Good Citizen Award Ohio’s young hunters harvest nearly 6,000 deer during Youth Gun Season Senior Profile: Kayle Thomas Helen N Hiestand Rev Walter R Egnor Sr Betty Beam Jamie L Corrill Jeffrey L Heppard Edsel L Massey Jr It is time to stop and take time to give thanks on a special day Another year to be very thankful for Senior Profile: Savannah McCoy McCoy signs to continue golf career at SSU North Adams hosts SHAC Girls Preview DAR commemorates 50th anniversary of Vietnam War Historical Society honors veterans Star Wars routine leads Fancy Free Cloggers to ‘America’s Got Talent’ A Day at the Opera Eagle Creek draws community to Thanksgiving celebration Ward ekes out victory over Worley in county commissioner race Mary A Garman Ronald L Palmer Joseph S McClanahan II Emma O Hayslip Devils slip by Georgetown in Foundation Game Hupp, Hunter, Wolke named OSSCA Second Team All-State Senior Profile: Kain Turner Lady Devils romp in Foundation Game Oh, those aromas coming from Mom’s kitchen What Became My Biggest Project Deer gun season set to begin ‘Trees to Textbooks’ shares revenues with local schools and communities BREAKING NEWS Winchester’s Baxter wins Miss Ohio USA 2017 pageant Genny Elkins Pauline S Stevenson Donald E Lewis Sr Charlotte R Seaman Ruth Prater Bennie Skaggs Gertrude Swayne West Union High School hosts impressive Veterans Day ceremonies Peebles Elementary hosts ceremony to honor local veterans Duke Energy exits Killen and Stuart Plants GE Aviation hosts annual Veterans Day celebration Senior Profile: Logan Gordley Jeffrey A Brown Sr Peebles Library welcomes local author and survivor on Nov. 19 Homer C Eldridge Robert W Schomberg One Commissioner race too close to call in unofficial count Voters approve majority of county levies on Tuesday’s election ballot NAES Sixth Graders practice the democratic process Honoring one who gave the ‘last full measure of devotion’ Overcoming adversity, veteran of Iraq War opens local business Senior Profile: Ben Figgins Senior Profile: Macy Mullenix SHAC Basketball Previews are set for Nov. 18 and 25 Trio of local golfers finish careers with trip to the highest level of high school competition Peebles sophomore Jenny Seas finishes sixth in OHSAA state cross-country meet Upset win sends Trump to the White House ACRMC awarded plaque for 50 years of service Peebles Elementary releases Honor Roll for First Nine Week Grading Period BREAKING ELECTION NEWS! Senior Profile: Jordyn Kell Orlie H Kirker Military homecoming at NAES
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Issue 1 approved by Ohio voters

Voters in Tuesday’s election were nearly unanimous in their support of Issue 1, the constitutional amendment intended to end the partisan gerrymandering in Ohio’s Statehouse. For the most part Ohio is considered a purple state with the number of Republicans and Democrats being more or less equal. However, two-thirds of the Ohio Statehouse seats and three-fourths of Ohio’s congressional seats are held by members of one party. The passage of issue one levels the playing field by making the process of dividing the state into legislative districts more balanced. The majority can no longer create districts that favor their party by packing minority party voters together. The issue’s passage is expected to profoundly effect how the state is governed in the future

The amendment creates a new, bipartisan commission to draw legislative districts that are compact and do not favor one political party over another. The amendment takes effect in 2021 when the next redistricting is scheduled to occur. Issue 1 was the fourth citizen initiative attempting to change the redistricting system that has allowed a single political party to maintain control over the statehouse for the past two decades. In 1981 an initiative that would have given redistricting authority to a state commission was defeated with 58 percent of voters against it. A 2005 measure was also defeated with 69 percent voting against it. In 2012 a measure proposing a 12 person citizen commission redraw the maps was defeated by 68 percent of the voters.

The new amendment will ensure the minority party has a voice in the political process and that districts will be more competitive and representative. Both the Ohio Republican and Democratic parties support the plan, as do business groups, unions, religious leaders and a variety of organizations that promote voting access.

The ultimate goal is a more effective and responsive state government.

Formerly, the system allowed a partisan 5-member board that included the governor, state auditor, secretary of state and two members selected by the legislative leaders of the two major parties to draw legislative districts.

The amendment establishes a bipartisan Ohio Redistricting Commission, composed of 7 members including the Governor, the Auditor of State, the Secretary of State, and a bipartisan majority of 4 members. A 10 year redistricting plan now requires agreement between the major political parties. If the commission fails to pass a bipartisan plan, then a simple majority of four members are required to pass a plan that will last four years. The amendment forbids district plans from favoring either political party, thereby ending the partisan drawing of Ohio House and Senate districts, and replacing it with a bipartisan process that creates district boundaries that are more compact and politically competitive.

The amendment also ensures a transparency by requiring public meetings, public displays of maps, and a public letter explaining any plan the Commission adopts by a simple majority vote.

Critics of the amendment argue that it only addresses half the problem because it does not change how districts are drawn for the U.S. House of Representatives. They argue that former Speaker of the House, John Boehner-R pressured lawmakers to forgo including congressional redistricting. Commenting on reform efforts, Boehner said, “I frankly don’t think it needs to be fixed,” adding, “for 40 years the Democrat Party had the pencil in their hands, and for the last 20 years we’ve had the pencil. When you’ve got the pencil in your hand, you’re going to use it to the best of your advantage.”

Richard Gunther, a political science professor at Ohio State University who is involved in redistricting reform, said, “The actual argument I heard when I was engaged in negotiations was there was a tremendous amount of pressure from John Boehner not to go into this. Boehner is perfectly happy with the existing process, and he should be because it is outrageously disproportionate.”

Technological advances in mapping software and voter data have expedited precision drawing of district lines. In the past the majority party attempted to draw winnable districts that were unaffected by populist ideology and legal challenges. Elections in these districts rarely reflected the will of the electorate.

The majority party can solidify its power by crafting a number of districts that, on paper, give it 5-to-10 point advantages, while giving the minority party fewer seats but with huge advantages of 20 points or more.

In the 2012 elections, for example, Ohio House Democrats got 56,000 more total votes than Republicans, but the GOP won 60 of 99 seats.

“That’s preposterous,” said Gunther, “Somehow, you pull a rabbit out of the hat, and the loser becomes the winner.

The campaign that supported the amendment was led by Fair Districts for Ohio and the measure was sponsored by Rep. Matt Huffman-R with Rep. Vernon Sykes-D.

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Voters Reject Political Monopoly

By Patricia Beech

pbeech@civitasmedia.com

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