Mount Union Hosted Guest Speaker Dreussi in Celebration of Constitution Day

September 22, 2017

ALLIANCE, Ohio - Mount Union’s Department of Political Science and International Studies and Regula Center for Public Service and Civic Engagement hosted Dr. Amy Shriver Dreussi, co-president of the Canton Area League of Women Voters, in recognition of Constitution Day.

Her talk, “Fair Districts, Fair Elections,” focused on the ways in which fair congressional maps make for a stronger democracy.

Dreussi shared that a large part of what she considers a problem is that the issue tends to be somewhat obscure and hard to understand, but its impact can be huge.

She tied her speech to Constitution Day by explaining that the Constitution dictates the guidelines for districting. In Ohio, the state Constitution only offers three parameters for redistricting: contiguity, population equality and compliance with the Voting Rights Act.  

Throughout the discussion, Dreussi reminded the audience that districting and redistricting has been taking place frequently, with districts being redrawn following every Census. In Ohio, the last two redistricting phases have taken place under a Republican majority. She explained that the districts today would look much different if Democrats had been the majority. 

For Dreussi and the League of Women Voters, the idea of gerrymandering taking place is something that needs to come to an end.

“This horrible polarization in Congress is detrimental to everyone,” said Dreussi, “we need to do something about this."

Ohio Gerrymandering

In an effort to end gerrymandering in Ohio, the League of Women Voters has proposed a new ballot initiative for which they are currently collecting signatures.

Fair Districts = Fair Elections proposal:

  • Congressional Districts will be drawn by a bipartisan body
  • Maps cannot be drawn to favor or disfavor a political party or candidate
  • Districts much keep communities together and be compact
  • The district map-drawing process must be open, transparent and accountable to the public

Showing the audience examples of how cracking and packing, two types of gerrymandering, takes place, Dreussi explained the impact of gerrymandering and how it has changed the look of districts in Ohio.

“We’ve seen gerrymandering for a long time, but it is worse than ever,” said Dreussi.  “The ability to have so much data and laser precision with maps makes the process easier than ever.”

For those seeking information on the fair district initiative, Dreussi directed attendees to www.fairdistrictsohio.org. Stressing the bipartisanship and well researched information the League of Women Voters publishes, she also encouraged students to visit www.lwvohio.org

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