Manchester grad enjoys a “Super” Experience Taking Adams County patriotism to the state capitol John P Sininger Jo Ann Hayslip Harvey U Schrock Eunice G. Burgess Senior Profile: Kaulen St Michael Cox Racing returns to Brushcreek on April 2 Southern Hills Athletic Conference holds Winter Sports Awards ceremony Adams County provides multiple walking venues Adams County parks are tobacco-free Rhoads Memorial 5K Run/Walk is April 9 Peebles Elem. Staff of the Month Floyd E Maddy Raymond A Holt Derrick Poe Spencer E McFarland Mintie F Rogers Roberta Eylar Big Time Wrestling coming to NAHS Carl Tomlin CTC students help with storm clean-up Opening the door for high-tech jobs Jack R Slyger Thomas Stratton Jr Eastern Lady Warriors headed to Final Four Senior Profile: Logan Rogers Southern Hills Athletic Conference names 2016-17 All-Conference Basketball Teams Winchester PD continues assault on drugs Alonso joins Defender staff Sheriff to set up outpost in Manchester Johnson named OEDA Membership Chairperson Sherman E Young Ruth Jackman ‘Kitten Season’ comes to Ohio Manchester Council votes to disband PD Olde Wayside Inn under new management Two overdose on heroin Senior Profile: Ethan Parrett Adams/Brown Youth League holds postseason tourney Three nights of pain Furious rally falls short, Lady Devils again eliminated in Div. III district finals, 45-42 Oscar Moore Barbara J Finnegan Ohio Senate and House honor Miss Ohio USA Michael Eldridge Frances Towner Thelma R Williamson BREAKING NEWS: Manchester council votes to eliminate police department Before all dogs go to heaven Adaptive Bikes delivered in Adams County Adams County Junior Fair Market Hog Identification plans announced for 2017 Local couple takes ownership of two local businesses Jo Hanson to retire after nearly 50 years in banking Sierra Club, hero or villain? Greyhounds, Devils are runners-up in SHAC Tournaments Harold L Purdin Senior Profile: Jacob Wickerham 98-year old author publishes first book Early March storm packs destructive punch Jeeps rally in second half to end the Peebles season How about some post season awards? Thanks for all the great sports coverage PHS Principal hopes to expand students’ world view When spring becomes a promise Greg Lorenz Clay shoots the lights out, shoots down Greyhounds’ season Senior Profile: Savannah McFarland Devils put up a good fight, but fall to Portsmouth in sectional final, 50-43 Second half comeback sends Lady Devils to district finals for third straight year Butts honored by Southeast District Athletic Board North Adams Elementary holds Random Acts of Kindness Week Chester W Eyre BREAKING NEWS: March makes its entrance with force WUES kicks off Right to Read Week with guest readers WUHS students see Aronoff show on the life of Edgar Allan Poe Local high school seniors winners of Wendy’s Heisman Awards The emotions of a senior year Market Hog Clinic scheduled for March 4 Venture Hawks fall to Scioto County Senior Profile : Colton Thornburg Lady Dragons’ season ends with sectional loss to Lynchburg Devils advance in tourney with convincing win over West Union, will face Portsmouth for sectional title Wenstrup selected as Vice Chairman of House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee Adams County 4-H Shooting Sports to hold fund raiser Linda M Howland Nellie B Hayslip Russell E Bailey Gladys M Perdue Commissioners meet in Columbus with DP&L CEO Tom Raga Missing the Dirtrollers The farms that aren’t forgotten Flora Hilderbran Commissioners to meet with DP&L officials New state graduation requirements called a ‘train wreck’ Catching up with Keller Senior Profile: Justin Knechtly Piketon size is too much for Lady Indians, Peebles falls in sectional finals Greyhounds grab Senior Night win Indians finish regular season riding six-game winning streak

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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