COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohioans in northeast Ohio got the chance to weigh-in on the legislative maps the Redistricting Commission is drawing. Residents attended the meeting on Monday to give testimony.

What You Need To Know

  • Public testimony is being held across the state to get various opinions from Ohioans 

  • On Monday, the commission heard from northeast Ohio

  • Lawmakers have until the end of December to put forth state maps

Ohioans in southwest Ohio already had a chance to share their thoughts on a set of proposed legislative maps. Now, the Redistricting Commission took their meetings to the northeast part of the state. Right now, the maps being shared with Ohioans were drawn by Republican Sen. Rob McColley, who is a member of the Redistricting Commission.

Meanwhile, Democrats and Republicans are at odds over the proposal. The rough draft of the maps could give republicans an advantage of 23 to 10 in the Ohio Senate, and 62 to 37 in the Ohio House. Ohioans in the northeast told lawmakers that their frustration lies in the fact that small communities are being separated into several districts.

This is something they said will make it hard for citizens to access resources from the state.

"You've been told this community, though, is more than municipal lines," Erin Grube, a resident of Chagrin Falls, said. "It includes the school districts. The proposed maps race your grandfather's exempted village school district in the three separate House districts and two Senate districts of our House district." 

Other people raised concerns with how the proposed maps could lump democratic communities in with rural areas. It is something some residents said takes away their freedom of speech. 

"You're literally taking your democratic stronghold in northern Ashtabula County," Stephen Michael Kellat, an Ohio citizen, said. "And you're attaching it to a predominantly Republican county. So all those Democratic voices are silenced." 

However, that argument that was brought to the meeting did get pushback from some lawmakers. 

"So Lake County, Trumbull County and Portage County all being larger than any single House district," McColley said, "are constitutionally entitled to have a whole House district contained within that county. That's that's required under our constitution." 

In the crowded hearing room some residents voiced their frustration with the commission and the entire redistricting process as a whole.

"I just want to ask you, are the maps fair? Are they more fair than the maps that were ruled unconstitutional by the Ohio Supreme Court that we are currently using? And I just want to point out that in 2015, 71% of voters support an amendment to create a bipartisan commission to draw districts that don't favor one political party," Jamie Schwartzman, a resident of East Lake, Ohio, said. 

The idea of a citizen-led redistricting commission is being brought forth as a group led by retired Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor who is working to get an amendment on the ballot. Right now, lawmakers are on a time crunch to get maps done by December 20th in order for the 2024 election to run smoothly.