The GOP could capture new Senate or House majorities in a dozen to 18 states — along with critical new power to redraw district maps and influence elections for a decade to come. Three of the biggest prizes are New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania. All three states are expected to lose seats in Congress as a result of the 2010 census, and that's sure to ignite boundary fights. A party's congressman on the wrong end of redistricting can find the district he's represented for years no longer exists.
That's right: Ohio likely will lose at least one of its 18 Congressional districts, which means someone is losing his or her job. Ohio's population loss since the 2000 Census is putting us in position to lose representation in Washington, and the party that is elected into power next week will determine how the next Congressional districts are drawn.
Wondering how that works? The ReDistricting Game (at www.redistrictinggame.org) can explain that better than I.
The game can get pretty difficult as your progress through levels, but it is a pretty fun way to learn about a topic that only makes it into the news every 10 years. If you're a political person who likes puzzles, you'll probably enjoy figuring out how to get this one to work. (And the game has some subtle wit, like with the characters Libby Rahl and Connor Servative.)
After playing the game, check out a current map of the Congressional districts in Ohio here. This is the last election for which these 18 districts will exist. Which districts are going away? How will the new ones be drawn? It depends a lot on who is voted into office next week.
-- Cheryl Sadler