Democrat Barack Obama won Ohio by more than 100,000 votes over Republican Mitt Romney. Democratic U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown defeated Republican Josh Mandel by more than 250,000 votes. Yet GOP candidates won 12 of Ohio’s 16 U.S. House races. Republicans also have a large majority in the state House and a more than 2-to-1 advantage in the state Senate.
In a state as evenly divided politically as Ohio, that should not happen. But it did, because Republicans in charge of redrawing the congressional and legislative districts packed as many Democrats as they could into as few districts as possible to create the maximum number of safe Republican seats and ensure a GOP majority in Congress and the General Assembly.
In the same election, Ohio voters soundly defeated a constitutional amendment that would have removed the once-a-decade redrawing of congressional and legislative boundaries from partisan political hands and put it in the hands of a nonpartisan panel.
Republicans played a part in that defeat by spreading false claims about how members of the panel would be chosen and how big their budget would be.
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s Ballot Board also crafted ballot language for Issue 2 that was so confusing it could not pass muster with the GOP-led Ohio Supreme Court.
Republicans say they agree that the system doesn’t work, that it increases partisanship, makes compromise less likely, and produces results that don’t reflect the political makeup of the state.
So it’s up to Republicans to come up with a plan. Mr. Husted claims he’s an advocate of election reform. If he has a better idea, let him share it. What does Gov. Jon Kasich think? The Apportionment Board?
Talk about election reform often is no more than partisanship by another name. It’s time to stop allowing the foxes to design the henhouse.