Letter: Gerrymandering is getting old

Happy birthday, Elbridge Gerry. You were born 277 years ago on July 17, 1744. Gerrymandering was named after you, when you drew senate districts in Massachusetts to benefit your political party, the Democratic-Republicans.

Ohio is one of the most gerrymandered states in the United States. Our legislature is under a mandate to end the practice and replace it with fair districts — now. But, so far, not even the Ohio Redistricting Commission has been convened in advance of receiving census data on Aug. 16.

Some think this effort to redraw our districts in a fair way is political. It is not. Whichever party is in power will try to gerrymander. 

As voters in Ohio, we must stand up for all voters, enabling them to fairly participate in their government. New rules are in place for drawing fair districts, but if the governor and the legislature don’t begin creating the conditions to make this happen, we will be stuck in the same unfair, grossly gerrymandered situation for the next four years.

So, to acknowledge Gerry’s birthday, let’s remove the stigma that has been attached to him since 1810. Let’s make Ohio a fair state where voters choose their representatives, not the other way around. Let’s eliminate “gerrymandering” from our collective vocabulary and replace it with “fair.”

Contact your representatives and the governor and demand action!

Debbie Barber, Kent