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Board of Elections Reassigns Nearly 3,000 Voters Placed in Wrong Congressional District

Lauren Sega Lauren Sega Board of Elections Reassigns Nearly 3,000 Voters Placed in Wrong Congressional DistrictPhoto via Franklin County Board of Elections.
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The complexity of congressional districts has led some voters to be placed in the wrong one, according to the Franklin County Board of Elections (FCBOE).

Some 3,000 individuals have recently received a memo from the Board, alerting them that they were “inadvertently assigned to the wrong congressional district.”

“Rest assured that votes you have cast in previous elections have always counted and the number of impacted voters was never enough to change the outcome of any election,” the memo reads.

A map of Ohio’s congressional districts.

Three congressional districts run through Franklin County, including the 3rd, 12th, and 15th. Their boundaries are random, jagged, and can cut through neighborhoods or even houses and apartment complexes themselves. That means someone could technically reside in a different district from their next door neighbor.

Matters got more complicated this year, when it was discovered that the FCBOE’s maps didn’t align perfectly with the real boundaries. One voter called the Board when, after doing some quick research, she found that the congressional district she’d been assigned didn’t line up with where her house actually lay on the map.

“That location was a high rise condominium complex, and we had it in the wrong district,” says Aaron Sellers, with the FCBOE. “The district they were supposed to be in was across the street, really close.”

The mixup led to a full review of the county, which took several months. Using the County Auditor’s maps, the FCBOE identified nearly 3,000 voters who’d been assigned to the wrong congressional district.

“There’s a minuscule percentage of a percentage [of people] that are right on the border. I mean, you go up High Street, from German Village to Clintonville, there are three different districts,” says Dave O’Neill, Director of Communications for the Franklin County Auditor’s office. “And it’s not like Philly, where everything is a checkerboard. There are some funky streets and things of that nature.”

To resolve the issue, the majority (1,603 voters) were moved out of the 15th district, and 1,584 voters were moved into the 3rd district. Nearly 1,000 were moved out of the 3rd district, and about 200 were moved out of the 12th. Sellers says that those numbers aren’t big enough to have affected any races within that time frame.

Graphic provided by the Board of Elections.

“Certainly there’s human error to this,” he adds, “and we certainly weren’t excited to let the public know that there were some issues on our end, but what we wanted to do was be transparent about this. Obviously, we’re slightly embarrassed that we had 3,000 people in the wrong congressional district, but we’ve got everybody where they should be now.”

For more information, visit vote.franklincountyohio.gov.

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