They do not care.

They count on us to be ill informed and lazy, and simply be led along like sheep.

So, they truly do not care.

A political party in Ohio is playing us like patsies. It really doesn’t matter which party, because I believe either one would do so if its leaders had the chance.

I actually swore out loud at the television when I heard the final resolution of this issue on the news. I’m not proud of that, but I don’t exactly regret it, either.

By a split 2-1 vote, a federal district court on May 27 implemented Ohio Senate and House district maps for the 2022 election that twice have been ruled unconstitutional by the Ohio Supreme Court. In effect, both a federal court and Ohio’s high court have given tacit permission for a political party to violate the state constitution and tell Ohio voters to take a hike.

Like I said, the party leaders count on us to be ill informed and lazy, and simply be led along like sheep. As of this point, the courts and voters have simply uttered a weak “Baaaaaaa.”

But hey, anything to retain power, right?

In 2015 nearly three fourths of Ohio voters, fed up with politicians who approved congressional districts designed to skew election results in their own favor, approved a constitutional amendment designed to end this practice.

This measure is designed to end gerrymandering, the practice of drawing congressional districts to marginalize voters of one party to benefit of the party holding power. The term originated in 1812 when a convoluted Massachusetts district was drawn with a shape that resembled a salamander to benefit the party of then Gov. Elbridge Gerry. This map, with claws, wings and fangs added for effect, was printed in a Boston newspaper with the label of Gerry-Mander.

Gerrymandering is anti–democratic at its rankest, a direct violation of the one-person-one-vote rule. The party in power simply creates districts that guarantee their candidates win a vast majority of the races, ensuring their grip on power.

The ballot measure approved overwhelmingly by fed up Ohio voters seven years ago established a commission to end this process. Its members consist of the governor, state auditor, secretary of state, and one member each appointed by the Senate majority and minority leaders.

The GOP currently holds a 5-2 majority on the commission, and three times by party line votes approved severely gerrymandered districts that the Ohio Supreme Court declared unconstitutional.

Each time the commission ignored the high court, and yet each time the court also failed to hold the commission members in contempt. This failure of the Ohio Supreme Court to sidestep its duties is particularly galling because one of the justices is the son of Ohio governor and commission member Mike Dewine. The governor’s son refused to recuse himself from the case due to this conflict of interest, and failed and to hold his father in contempt.

A federal appeals court finally stepped in and by a split vote ordered that the final set of unconstitutional maps be used.

Although approximately 54 percent of Ohio voters are Republican and 46 percent Democrats, gerrymandering has given the GOP a majority of 76 percent in the Ohio Senate and 65 percent in the Ohio House. The new unconstitutional maps will allow this to continue.

In the name of holding on to power, the Republicans have given the majority of Ohio voters a less than full-fisted salute, and are being allowed to get away with it. In effect this allows the GOP to disregard the will of the voters because the will of the voters no longer matters. An unchecked party in power will run roughshod over the voters, as they are proving now, and regardless of which party you belong to your opinion means nothing..

Like I said, they count on the voters being ill informed and lazy, and being willing to be led along like sheep.

It doesn’t really matter which party it is. It’s the Republicans now, and I am a registered Republican, but I believe the Democrats would do the same thing if they have the chance.

Since the Ohio Supreme Court has abdicated its responsibilities, defending our democratic rights is up to each of us as voters. An unchecked party in power will run roughshod over the voters, as they are proving now, and regardless of which party you belong to your voice is being throttled.

Speak up now by your voting and through expressing your discontent to state leaders. Otherwise your default voice will be a very weak “Baaaaa.”

Don Allison is an author, historian and retired editor of The Bryan Times. He can be reached at www.bryantimes.com.

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