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New Columbus City Council District Map Getting Support

The first draft of the proposed Columbus City Council district map was released on September 1, 2021.
Columbus City Council
The first draft of the proposed Columbus City Council district map was released on September 1, 2021.

Columbus voters will decide who will represent them on City Council in a new nine district system that takes effect after 2023. Those running for council seats will have to live in a specific area, but Columbus residents will vote on all the candidates.

Columbus City Council approved the new system Monday from a group of three maps drafted by a citizen commission.

“This is an interesting experiment", said Executive Director of Common Cause, Catherine Turcer. “I think we’re going to see how well this works. You know what I do know is it’s really sad to think about every city council person for example living in Clintonville. And this model does something that is important which makes sure that our representatives in Columbus are from all over Columbus.”

Turcer said while the system is not perfect, it can create better representation.

“I think we can make it attractive by highlighting the importance of the city of Columbus,” said Turcer. “And I think so many of us care about Columbus, we want Columbus to be successful, and we don’t want a situation where all the resources for example go to downtown.”

Turcer said she appreciates the methods council members used to decide on a new election system.

“They took the time to hear from people about how they could keep communities together,” said Turcer. “There was an opportunity to hear from people that were new immigrants, new citizens. And there was a process for saying 'okay how do we ensure that this works.'”

The 2020 U.S. Census shows that the city’s population has grown by 15 percent in the last 10 years. Turcer said that brings new challenges.

“Columbus has grown and grown,” said Turcer. “And it makes sense to actually have a larger city council so that we have better representation.”

Debbie Holmes has worked at WOSU News since 2009. She has hosted All Things Considered, since May 2021. Prior to that she was the host of Morning Edition and a reporter.