Today, Ohio Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights) announced that he appointed state Senator Vernon Sykes (D-Akron) to serve on the Ohio Redistricting Commission.
“Senator Sykes is a long-time proponent of fair districts, which is why I’m pleased he will represent our caucus on the Redistricting Commission,” Yuko said. “Ohioans deserve to have maps that accurately reflect the demographic makeup and political preferences of our communities. I have total confidence that Senator Sykes will advocate for a process that respects voters’ wishes and minimizes partisan gerrymandering.”
Ohioans in 2015 and 2018 overwhelmingly approved two constitutional amendments to reform the state’s redistricting process. These amendments came in response to maps drawn in 2011, which disproportionately favored Republican lawmakers. Senator Sykes jointly sponsored both pieces of legislation – Senate Joint Resolution 12 in 2014 and Senate Joint Resolution 5 in 2018.
“Gerrymandered maps divide communities and disenfranchise Ohioans by allowing elected officials to pick their constituents,” Sykes said. “After working on this issue for more than a decade, I’m ready to finally have fair maps that respect all Ohioans – not benefit a political party. Voters approved this new system because they wanted to have openness and transparency. I encourage all Ohioans to stay informed and engaged throughout the redistricting process.”
In addition to setting deadlines and requiring bipartisanship and public input throughout the process, the reforms also included the creation of the Redistricting Commission, made up of the Governor, Auditor, Secretary of State and nominees of the four legislative leaders. This bipartisan commission is responsible for drawing legislative maps, and may play a role in the drawing of congressional maps.
The Redistricting Commission will convene for its first meeting on Friday, August 6 at 9 a.m.