Special Election Day for Congressional District 12 — See if Your Zip Code is Included
Ohio’s 12th Congressional District is having a moment today, as its constituents line up at the polls to decide who’ll be its next representative: Republican Troy Balderson or Democrat Danny O’Connor.
The district has been redrawn several times in Ohio’s history, most recently in 2012, after the 2010 census. At the time, and still, the state legislature was controlled by Republicans, who signed a heavily gerrymandered map of District 12 into law in 2011.
Its most northern point hits Richland County, which includes Mansfield, while its southern tip covers Zanesville and other parts of Muskingum County.
In between, it loops into Morrow, Marion, Delaware, Licking and Franklin Counties, and covers many of Columbus’ urban zip codes.
Ohio’s primary election in May saw the success of Issue 1, the bipartisan ballot initiative looking to reform the way districts are drawn. It was placed on the ballot by a 31-0 vote in the Ohio Senate and an 83-10 vote in the House, and voters approved the measure 75-25 percent.
Looking to create more logical, compact district maps, the initiative promotes a bipartisan effort wherein 60 percent of lawmakers in both the House and the Senate, including half of the minority party, must approve the map.
If the map doesn’t get approval from 60 percent in each chamber, several contingencies exist: first, a seven-member commission would draw the map, which would include the governor, state auditor, secretary of state, two Democrats and two Republicans; if the commission can’t reach an agreement, it’d go back to the lawmakers, who would only need a third of the minority party to agree; and if that doesn’t pass, the majority party can draw the map without minority party input, but it lasts less than half as long as it would with minority party support, four years compared to 10.
But, the effects of this new law won’t go into effect until 2021, after the 2020 census. For Columbusites, Ohio Congressional District 12 includes the suburb of Dublin, as well as the more urban neighborhoods of Weinland Park, the University District, Old North, and Clintonville.