Ohio Republicans create winnable electoral districts by siting nonvoting prisons near friendly voters

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2017/10/31/prison-gerrymandering.html


Ohio is one of the worst for repubs gerrymandering. District 16 (https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/OH/16) in which I live, is carefully crafted around any of those places where POC might live.


The Republicans understand very well that without all these cheats and without the broken Electoral College system they’ll become increasingly irrelevant to the majority of the electorate.


Counted for districting purposes but no allowed to vote. Hell, just go ahead and call each prisoner 3/5 of a person.


Or the Ohio 9th District, which looks like it is entirely separated in two when you glance at a map, but is in fact exactly as wide as a bridge that connects two different counties.


Can we please just go to an open source algorithm. Something neutral and verifiable.


What assholes. If you can’t win, cheat.


In a sensible democracy the people who did this would be joining their nonvoting constituents. And I don’t mean that as hyperbole. Gerrymandering is a complete subversion of democracy and ought to be a crime with 10+ year prison terms.


Yep. Given the school-to-prison pipeline and the War on (Some) Drugs, dollars to donuts most of those inmates are POC. We’re disturbingly good at adding injury to injury.


Their love for democracy in the abstract is only exceeded by their hatred for it in the real world.


Your math is off. 0/5 seems more like what they’re after.

Now, if they just somehow got 3/5 of the black population into prison and off the voting rolls in their home districts…


At what point do the gerrymanders admit they don’t want democracy?


This is what I clicked into this thread to type.

The “rotten boroughs” comparison in the original was a bit off, because rotten boroughs weren’t the result of trying to cheat a census. They were the result of never updating the parliamentary seats in line with population shifts over centuries.

The framers of the US constitution knew this flaw in the Westminster parliament. That’s why they insisted on a census every decade and periodic reapportionment.

This gerrymandering tactic is incredibly similar to that first attempt to beat the American system which gave rise to the 3/5 compromise. And given the demographics of the US prison population, some of the non-voters used to gerrymander these Ohio districts are probably the direct descendants of the ones used to gerrymander the constitution .


In “The New Jim Crow” (which is a fantastic book) I remember the story of a black man who was fifth or sixth generation of men in his family who weren’t allowed to vote. Starting with slaves, going through someone who was murdered by the KKK when he was trying to get to the polls, down to the contemporary man who was busted for pot possession in his youth and so permanent taken off the voter rolls. It just keeps going and going.


We had a referendum here to require districts be drawn by an independent, non-partisan panel. Naturally, shadowy groups ran ads announcing that “unelected bureaucrats are going to decide who you can vote for!” The measure failed.


Nah, they love democracy. In fact, they love it so much that they know they’re the only people qualified to care for it, so they rig the system to guarantee that they’ll always be in charge.



Let’s hope that Anthony Kennedy doesn’t join the dark side this time.


This is going to be a bit pedantic, but that last sentence assumes that borough status (which brought with it parliamentary representation) was, at least at first, based on population. However, borough status was granted by royal charter. Doubtless many were granted on the grounds that “this is a really important town, it needs to be a borough”, but probably at least as many were down to backscratching, political manoeuvring, carefully calculated displays of royal favour, and even sheer caprice.


This is obviously just a noble effort to keep prisoners engaged in Our Civic Process despite their present inability to vote. I’m sure those in charge would resolve that problem if they could; and this is their creative attempt to do the best they can in the meantime…

(Also, I assume that filthy students with their liberal academia are strongly discouraged from counting as residents; because reasons?)

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The you have cases like Old Sarum, which used to be an important town but the population moved to the more conveniently situated (New) Salisbury leaving a largely unpopulated parliamentary seat (which was the case for most of it’s existence).