Mapping City Council Districts

Upon the defeat of Issue 1 in August, Represent Columbus began addressing some of the points raise in opposition to the ballot initiatives.  One of those issues was the fact that Represent Columbus did not present a map for people to vote on.  While maps are not typically put in charter documents, we agree there is value in letting people who are unfamiliar with a concept see what an end result could be. To that end, we have begun creating potential maps of council districts for public review.

Map Drawing Guidelines

In short, the Voting Rights Act requires that districting plans attempt to avoid submersion of minority (race, color or minority language) voters to the majority, and thus a districting plan must consider ways to allow those minority populations to elect candidates of their choice.  With Columbus demographics and housing patterns, African Americans is the only group for which the VRA requires consideration (since it is the only group with large enough numbers and geographic concentration to allow for a majority-minority district).  And while the VRA does not require proportionality of districts to minority population, districting plans that approaches proportionality have been found by courts throughout the years to comply with the requirements of the VRA. As such, we start by attempting to identify where majority-African American districts can be located, while maintaining traditional districting principles like contiguity of territory and equal size by population (i.e., the populations of the smallest and largest districts are within 10% of each other).  The draft maps attached meet these basic criteria, and provide a framework for thinking about a final districting plan.

We will be filing these maps with the Charter Review Commission empaneled in September 2016, and we urge citizens to review these drafts and comment back to Represent Columbus and the Charter Review Commission.  We have prepared maps illustrative of 7 single member districts, 10 single member districts, and 12 single member districts.  Please review each set of maps — focusing particularly on your area of the city, and provide feedback in our survey form below.  The feedback will go into refining the maps, which — if the Charter Review Committee does not move a council district recommendation forward — will most likely become a part of another citizen initiative to be launched in 2017.

Click the Thumbnails below to see the citywide districting plans for 7 and 12 districts, or click the links to preliminary versions of districting plans for either a 7 district format or a 12 district format.

After reviewing the maps, please give us feedback on each plan.

A 12 District Apportionment Plan

12 District Maps – Click link to go to page for detailed maps

12 Districts Citywide View

Demographics of the 12 district apportionment plan — creates 3 majority-minority (African American) districts (25% of the districts).

12 District Demographic Breakdown

A 10 District Apportionment Plan

10 District Map

A 10 District Apportionment Plan (Click link to see detailed maps)

Demographics of the 10 District Apportionment Plan — creates 3 majority-minority districts (30% of the council districts)


A 7 District Apportionment Plan

7 District Maps – Click link to go to page for detailed maps

7 Districts citywide view

Demographics of the 7 district apportionment plan — creates 2 majority-minority (African American) districts (28% of the districts).

7 District Demographic Breakdown