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Ohio Redistricting Competition

From the PDF: Additional Details on the Competition, Scoring and Next Steps

The goal of the Ohio Redistricting Competition is to demonstrate that an open process bssed on objective criteria can produce fair legislative on objective criteria can produce fair legislative districts in Ohio.

From the website:

What criteria will be used?

In crafting proposed redistricting criteria, competition partners paid special attention to the need for balance between traditional redistricting principles long recognized by courts and modern redistricting principles that can help achieve fairer districts in Ohio. In the competition, these principles will be applied in a quantifiable manner to each proposed congressional plan. To that end, the following criteria were proposed:

* Compactness. Sometimes referred to as the “look” of a district, compactness assures that bizarrely-shaped legislative districts are minimized. This measure helps promote fair representation within a district.

* Communities of Interest. Counties, municipalities, and other government boundaries give Ohioans a sense of place and shared interests. This measure seeks to minimize counties divided between districts, while opening a dialogue about the role of municipal, township and other community divisions given the rapid growth of suburban and exurban communities in Ohio.

* Competitiveness. Our democracy thrives when the marketplace of ideas is truly competitive, especially on Election Day. This measure seeks to maximize the number of legislative districts that could be won by either party, providing Ohioans with a stronger voice in choosing their representatives.

* Representational Fairness. The counterbalance for competitiveness is assuring that a final redistricting plan does not unfairly bias one party over another. This measure seeks to minimize this outcome by comparing the partisan bias of legislative districts to the real world voting history of Ohioans.

Before a plan can be considered, three legal thresholds must be met:

* Population equality. Federal case law requires that districts be as equal in population as possible.

* Contiguity. All districts must be contiguous, meaning that every part of a district must be reachable from every other part without crossing the district’s borders. “Point contiguity” or “touch-point contiguity” are not permitted.

* National Voting Rights Act. All plans must provide for at least one majority-minority congressional district, in keeping with federal law and case law.

From the case study:

Results Achieved

Ohio’s Redistriciting Competition proved to be a great success and out of 14 plans entered, 3 were declared winners on May 18, 2009. Based off of the strict scoring criteria, it was even reported that the worst rated entry was considerably better than the state’s 2000 redistricting model, which had been adopted. While the competition did not attract the widespread news attention it might have desired, it still proved to be worthwhile and highly efficient in creating plausible redistricting plans. The real test of this competition’s success though, will be seen by how much the three winning plans will actually be considered by the state’s General Assembly

The project relied on ArcGIS 9.3 and Districting Wizard.

Additional information

Tools used

A list of tools that were used during this project:


Additional information and materials about the project: