Democratic Party Insiders Call for Change to Columbus City Council Elections

Four Columbus residents who are members of the Franklin County Democratic Central Committee (residents elected to the party’s governing body by residents of their ward). The four, representing voting wards in Olde Towne East/Franklin Park, East Columbus/Krumm Park, the Near Southside, and the King-Lincoln District support the Everyday People for Positive Change citizen ballot proposals, and urged the other 83 Columbus members of the Central Committee to learn more about the proposal and join in support. [Read the Letter Here]

This letter will help make it much more difficult for opponents of the measure to falsely brand it as a Republican initiative, as opponents of August 2016’s Issue One did in a $1.1M campaign of deception. The four central committeemembers represent residents in wards in the Franklin Park/Olde Towne East, Near Southside, Bronzeville, and Krumm Park/East Columbus neighborhoods.

The letter educates Democratic Party insiders about the way the Columbus’s at-large elections violate the intent of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, by requiring Columbus’s geographically-concentrated minority (Black) population to always vote in a majority White electorate. It reminds party insiders that voting rights have traditionally been a bedrock Democratic Party principle. (The letter does not go through the local party’s historical support for district-based elections, starting with the party opposition to the 1914 at-large charter change, as well as Democrat city councilmember-led district proposals in 1967 and 1975.

The letter further exposes the disconnect between the party’s professed disdain for the Citizens United Supreme Court decision allowing unlimited contributions to political campaigns, and the local practice of allowing virtually unlimited contributions by the wealthy and corporate PACs in council elections.

Lastly, the letter posits that City Councill’s embrace of tax abatements, parallels the “tax cuts for the rich” mantra of Democrats nationally, and says that our election format is the cause of such conflicts between expressed values and actual practice, and that strengthening the relationship between citizens and elected officials is a structural issue that only voters can change.

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