Redrawing the Buckeye State: Redistricting in Ohio


Congressman Tim Ryan stands and addresses a crowd of his supporters

Luke Jenkins, Columnist

With the redrawing of congressional maps set to take place in Ohio, and with current representative Tim Ryan running for Senate, the city of Kent will be represented by someone new for the first time since 2003. 

Ryan, who entered the house in January of that year, has been representing Kent since before our entire student body was born.

Ohio voters passed redistricting reform in 2018, but Republicans in the State House could pass an aggressive gerrymander with no support from Democrats, on the condition that such a map would be in effect for four years, instead of the normal ten. The state missed the initial deadline this past Thursday, and the end is far from near.

 The prospect of a court challenge might deter an extremely aggressive map, as the Ohio Supreme Court is relatively moderate, under the current leadership of Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor. Regarded as the swing vote on the court, if O’Connor rules against the maps, Ohio could potentially see an even slightly fairer map.

Kent lies in Ohio’s 13th congressional district, which saw a large drop in population and a strong swing towards the right. It is yet to be seen if Kent will be included in a more liberal Summit-based seat, or be drawn into a seat that stretches up into Ashtabula.

Asked where she thinks Kent will lie, junior Naomi St. Clair thinks our city “will most likely be drawn into more conservative areas,” due to “the conservative-led district doodlers.” She thinks it will be a shame. Kent, being a growing college town, does not have much in common with rural Ohio, and including it in a district might lead to ineffective representation.