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Ohio board OKs controversial legislative-district map

The Ohio Apportionment Board voted 4-1 along party lines yesterday to approve a new set of Ohio House and Senate districts that have been called “highly gerrymandered” by state Democrats but “fair and constitutional” by state Republicans.

The board — comprising Gov. John Kasich; Auditor of State David Yost; Secretary of State Jon Husted; Republican Senate President Tom Niehaus; and Democratic Leader of the House Armond Budish — approved the map submitted by the board’s secretaries.

Budish was the only board member to vote against the proposed map.

Under the new map, Rep. Debbie Phillips, D-92nd, would have to run for the seat in the newly created 94th District in 2012, which no longer includes Morgan County and adds parts of the city of Marietta in Washington County, according to a previous Post article.

Athens County would become part of the 30th District, stretching from Carroll to Meigs County. This new district has no incumbent state senator living in it, leaving it wide open in 2012 elections.

“These maps fail to ensure all voters will have an equal voice across this broad and diverse state,” Budish said. “Instead, voters have been disenfranchised and their voices diluted.”

Republicans, on the other hand, viewed the plan as fair.

“People argue all the time; it’s partisan gerrymandering no matter what,” said Mike Dittoe, a spokesman for Ohio House Speaker William G. Batchelder, in an interview earlier this week. “These districts will withstand any kind of constitutional test.”

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