Redistricting means changes on ballot
GREATER AKRON — Familiar names may not be on the ballot for some voters for the Nov. 6 General Election.
Changes in federal, state and county district lines means that some voters might be caught by surprise when they see their choices on the ballot.
For instance, current U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton (D-District 13) will be facing current U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci (R-District 16) in the battle to represent the newly redrawn 16th District. That change means that Copley resident Sutton will not be on the ballot in West Akron, Bath, Cuyahoga Falls, Richfield and Fairlawn, as she has been.
Due to redistricting, which is required every 10 years after results of the U.S. Census, Summit County is now divided into four congressional districts and five statehouse districts.
Stephen Brooks, associate director of the Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at The University of Akron, said Summit County has a history of being under one representative, but that has changed in recent years.
There are pros and cons to having the county, and in some cases cities and townships, divided among elected officials, he said.
“The benefit of single representation is you have someone who lives and breathes the issues of Summit County,” Brooks said. “Their energies and attention is focused on what is happening here and they can best speak for the county. The argument for a divided delegation is that when interests in Summit County come to the representatives … you are able to have a team of people working for you either in the Statehouse or national legislature.”
Voters in the newly redrawn 13th District, which has some of the area Sutton previously represented, will see current U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-District 17), of Niles, face off against Dr. Marisha Agana, a Republican from Warren. That district surrounds Downtown Akron and covers the area north of the city, including parts of West Akron and Cuyahoga Falls, as well as Peninsula Village and Boston Township.
Brooks said for current elected officials who are now running in new territory, the candidates need to present themselves as they did when they ran the first time.
“The difference here is you have a track record of saying these are the things you’ve done,” Brooks said. “Name recognition becomes a big part of the campaign.”
He added that today’s campaign staffers also are savvy enough to know what to do when districts change.
“With the sophistication of political campaigns these days, even when the lines had not been specifically drawn but people knew what was going to happen, the political teams were already crunching numbers and analyzing voters,” he said. “The campaign is tailored to the new district.”
The Sutton and Renacci race will be before voters in Copley and Norton in Summit County and Granger and Sharon townships in Medina County.
As for other congressional districts, the central area of Akron is now District 11. Incumbent Marcia Fudge, a Democrat, is unopposed in the race. According to the district map, it also now includes part of West Akron and all of Fairlawn, Bath and Richfield.
In some cases, the revised district maps show that some neighborhoods are split between districts. Fairlawn Heights, for instance, is divided between districts 11 and 13.
Joe Masich, director of the Summit County Board of Elections (BOE), said in a phone interview that he was not aware of that situation but said “split precincts” are not uncommon, especially with school issues. He added that BOE workers will be educated as to making sure voters get the correct ballot at the polls.
“We know who is supposed to vote where and if, for example, there’s a split precinct between Akron and Woodridge, that’s the ballot you get to vote on,” he said. “It’s pretty tough not to have [split precincts] happen.”
Masich said around the end of September, the BOE will send all registered voters a large orange postcard mailer that will include their precinct, polling place and information on what their districts are for U.S. Congress, Ohio Senate, Ohio House of Representatives, Summit County Council, municipal court and school districts.
Here’s a rundown of some of the other district changes voters will see in the coming election:
U.S. House districts
• A portion of Ward 8 in Cuyahoga Falls is now in District 14. Running for the seat is Democrat Dale Blanchard, of Solon; Republican David Joyce, of Novelty; Libertarian David Macko, of Solon; and Green Party candidate Elaine Mastromatteo, of Bristolville. There are also three write-in candidates.
Ohio House districts
• Residents in West Akron, Northwest Akron and North Akron, as well as Downtown Akron, are now in District 34. Incumbent Democrat Vernon Sykes, who is currently serving District 44, faces Republican Ronya Habash in the race.
• The former District 43, with the seat currently held by Republican Anthony DeVitis, of Green, will be District 36. Democrat Paul Colavecchio, of Cuyahoga Falls, is DeVitis’ challenger. The new district includes Cuyahoga Falls and curves around Akron on the east to Tallmadge, Mogadore, Springfield, Green and Coventry.
• What was District 42 will now be District 37. Incumbent Republican Kristina Roegner faces Democrat Tom Schmida in the race. The district covers Cuyahoga Falls’ Ward 8.
• The former District 41, whose seat is filled by Republican Marilyn Slaby, of Copley, will now be District 38. Michael Kaplan, of Peninsula, is the Democratic candidate. The district covers all of the western portion of Summit County, including Richfield, Boston, Peninsula, Bath, Fairlawn, Copley and Norton. The district extends south into Stark County.
• Voters in Granger and Sharon, in the 69th District, will choose between incumbent Republican William Batchelder and Democrat Judith Cross.
Ohio Senate districts
• The seat currently held by Democrat Tom Sawyer in District 28 is up for election this year. Challenging Sawyer is Republican Robert Roush, of Cuyahoga Falls. The district now includes all of West Akron.
• Voters in Medina will choose between Republican Larry Obhof Jr. and Democrat James Riley for the District 22 Ohio Senate race.
Summit County Council
• Bath is no longer in District 1. That district still includes Richfield. Incumbent Democrat Nick Kostandaras faces Republican Greg Roemer for the seat. Both are Richfield residents.
• District 4 previously covered West Akron and Downtown Akron. The revised district now includes those areas as well as the eastern part of Bath. Incumbent Democrat Frank Comunale, of West Akron, faces Republican Mike Hoover, also of West Akron, for the seat.
• District 5 continues to include parts of West Akron, mostly south of West Market Street, along with Copley and Fairlawn and also now includes the western portion of Bath. Incumbent Democrat Tamela Lee, of West Akron, is challenged by Republican Lance Reed, of Copley, for the seat.
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Calendar of Events
- Spring Nature Hikes - 5/22/2013
- Summit Children’s Choir - 5/22/2013
- “Calamity Jane” - 5/23/2013
- Book Sale and Bizarre Bazaar - 5/25/2013
- Art Sale - 5/25/2013