Deadline to redraw districts invites mistakes
Preparing by June 14 a plan to redraw Ohio congressional district boundary lines would invite all sorts of mistakes, not to mention mischief by politicians seeking advantages. Yet a three-judge federal court opinion mandates state officials do just that.
Issued last week in Cincinnati, the judges’ ruling holds that the current districts were drawn after the 2010 census in an “unconstitutional partisan gerrymander.” Republican state officials set the boundaries in an attempt to give candidates from their party advantages, the judges said.
State officials are right to appeal the ruling. It is difficult to see how an appeals court with any knowledge of the difficulties involved in drawing 16 new congressional districts could refuse to grant at least a stay of the order.
Still, state legislators should begin the process of preparing a new district map — just in case an appeal fails.
A new, bipartisan process of redistricting is in place for use after the 2020 census. If possible, that system should be used to draw a new district map, should appeals court uphold the Cincinnati judges.
A new map, regardless of when it is prepared, should be handled in as nonpartisan a manner as possible.