What is the Council Residential Districting Commission?
The Council Residential Districting Commission is a commission formed to assist in the redistricting process. The Commission members will host nine meetings in nine different areas of the City of Columbus and draw three maps that will divide the city into nine districts. The maps will then be submitted to Council for a vote. Once Council votes on the maps, the Commission is to be immediately dissolved per the Charter.
How does this change the structure of Columbus City Council?
Districting will add two additional seats to the structure of Council, for a total of nine Council seats. In addition, while the current seven-member Council is at-large – all members represent the entire city and are voted upon by all residents – the new structure will require that members reside within the districts in order to serve on Columbus City Council.
When do the new districts take effect?
The districts will take effect after approval by Columbus City Council at the end of 2021, but members will not be elected from those districts until 2023. The primary election in 2023 will be the first election to include the district structure.
How long will Councilmember terms be under the Charter changes?
Members running in 2021 will only be eligible to run for a two-year term. In 2023, all nine seats for Council will be open. At the first Council session in 2024, all of the members elected in the 2023 general election will draw lots to determine which four members initially serve a two-year term and which five members serve a four-year term in order to stagger the terms.
Who will serve on the Commission?
The Commission will consist of five members, four of whom are appointed by Council through an application process. The final member and chair of the commission is appointed by the Mayor and the Council President.
Can I apply to be a member of the Commission?
Yes, anyone meeting the eligibility criteria can apply to be a member of the Commission.
When will the Commission begin meeting?
The Commission will be seated no later than March 1st, 2021, and would then set a regular meeting schedule.
What is the Commission’s timeline?
December 15, 2020: Application to be a commissioner opens
January 21, 2021: Application to be a commissioner closes
February 2021: Council considers applications and appoints Commission members. Mayor and Council President appoint Commission Chair.
March 1, 2021: Commission seated and commission meetings begin, date TBD
April 2021- August 2021: Commission community meetings and Commission meetings, dates TBD
September 2021: First iteration of maps will be distributed to the public for public view and comment for 30 days.
October 2021: Commission meetings, date TBD
November 2021: Second iteration of maps will be distributed to the public for public view and comment for 30 days
December 2021: Council votes on the maps and the Commission is dissolved
Where can I find the relevant Charter provisions regarding the Commission?
Ordinance 0650-2018, which placed the redistricting issue on the 2018 primary election ballot for voter approval, was approved by Columbus City Council on March 5th, 2018. That ordinance includes a ballot summary and the specific Charter amendments that introduced Council districts. The Charter provisions governing the structure of Columbus City Council can be found here.
What are the eligibility requirements for the Commission?
All commission members must be a qualified elector of the city.
What would make a person ineligible to serve on the Commission?
• Must not be currently serving as an elected official or holding a political office at the city, state, or federal level, except precinct committee members;
• Must not be a candidate for elective office;
• Must not be a lobbyist registered with the City of Columbus;
• Must not be a city employee.
Are area commissioners eligible to apply for the commission?
Yes. All persons that are elected or appointed to their post through a process that is not governed by the Board of Elections are eligible to apply.
Are the members of the Commission compensated?
Members of the Commission are not compensated per the requirements of the Charter.
Why isn’t my home included in any district on the current map?
draft map published on September 1, 2021 was based on 2010 U.S. Census data. If
your current address is in the City of Columbus but you do not see it within
any district, it is very likely because your address was not within the City of
Columbus for the 2010 Census. This is common for areas that were annexed into
the City over the last decade. Your address should be included in the 2020
Census data, which is the data that will be used for the final district map.
Why did the Commission use 2010 Census data for the first map?
of delays in data collection caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, data from the
2020 Census will not be available to the Districting Commission until later in
September. The Commission created a draft map using 2010 Census data for two
key reasons: to demonstrate how a map might look which complies with the
requirements in City Charter, and to generate community feedback on how the
maps should be drawn when the 2020 Census data is available.
Is the draft map what the final map will look like?
We already know, based on preliminary Census data, that Columbus has changed
and grown dramatically over the last decade. Once 2020 Census data is
available, the Commission will need to make adjustments – possibly significant
adjustments – to the draft map based on population changes and shifting
neighborhood dynamics. In addition, the Commission has determined that it will
draw 3 distinct maps to present to Council, who will then subsequently select 1
of those 3 maps without making any changes or alterations. It is possible that
the final map, based on 2020 Census data, will look entirely different than the
draft map published on September 1, 2021.
Are the addresses of where current council members reside taken into consideration when the maps are being drafted?
No, where current councilmembers live have no bearing on the
drafting of the maps.
Why are some districts larger than other districts?
Geographic areas may differ because the districts are based
on population. Some areas are more densely populated than other areas,
therefore a district may be geographically larger because the population is not