Winners of a comic book contest sponsored by supporters of state Issue 1 were announced this week, part of an effort to bring a little fun to the admittedly dry subject of legislative redistricting reform.
Contestants in the Activist Comics Competition were asked to draw superheros to fight the Mighty Gerrymander. The term "gerrymander" is used to describe legislative districts that are drawn to strongly favor one party or another.
The Fair Districts = Fair Elections Coalition said a $500 cash award goes to Columbus College of Art and Design student Samatha Archual, with her Gerrymander v. Super Nina comic. The comic draws former State Sen. Nina Turner, D-Cleveland, as a purple-clad superhero.
Turner, who ran unsuccessfully for Ohio Secretary of State last year, was one of a bipartisan group of state legislators who voted to place Issue 1 on the ballot.
Eduardo Calzadilla placed second with "Miss Fair vs. Guilty Gerry."
Catherine Fastenau was third with "Lady Justice."
Issue 1 is a state constitutional amendment that would change how boundaries for state legislative districts are drawn in an effort to create districts that are more compact and competitive. Issue 1, which has no organized opposition, sets up a new Ohio Redistricting Commission with seven members, up from the current five, and requires two minority party member votes to create a new 10-year map. Otherwise the district lines would only be in place for four years.
Legislative and Congressional district boundaries are redrawn every 10 years to reflect changes in population. If approved the change would only affect Ohio Statehouse seats, not the U.S. Congressional districts.
The issue has drawn support from a variety of groups that normally are on opposite sides, said Catherine Turcer, policy analyst for Common Cause, a non-profit good government group backing Issue 1.
For example the issue is supported by the state Democratic and Republican parties, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio and Ohio Right to Life, along with close to 100 other groups.
"Republicans and Democrats often fight like cats and dogs, but they came together for Issue 1," Turcer said.
Here is the full winning comic strip.