Redistricting

After Issue 1, What's Next For Redistricting In Ohio?

Dec 31, 2015

Just about every big player in Ohio politics got behind Issue 1 this year. It united liberals with conservatives, labor with the Chamber of Commerce, and Ohio Right to Life with NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio.  Plus, it won more than 70 percent of the vote.  The plan was to change how state legislative districts are drawn. Those district boundaries are seen as playing a major role in determining which party controls lawmaking at the Statehouse.  But Issue 1 did nothing to change who draws Congressional districts.

After a decade of false starts, Ohio voters have overwhemingly approved new rules for drawing state legislative districts that aim to reduce partisan gerrymandering.

Issue 1 sailed to victory, thanks to bipartisan support and very little opposition. Catherine Turcer with Common Cause Ohio has been working for years to reform redistricting laws. “It’s like Christmas,” she said. “And the thing that’s exciting is that this is for all of us.”

Ohio Secretary of State

More groups are jumping on the redistricting reform bandwagon, in advance of a vote this fall on a plan to create a bipartisan commission to draw state lawmakers’ districts.

Supporters of the redistricting plan now include the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants, which says it’s an “accountable approach” for “effective reform and fair districts”. And the liberal group Nuns on the Bus says it’s joined up too.

Sister Carren Herring in Cincinnati says too many people on the margins are disenfranchised by a gerrymandered map that favors people with power and influence. 

Ohio two political party leaders spar over the state's biggest issues.
User: DonkeyHotey / Flickr/Creative Commons

Last week Gov. John Kasich announced he’s running for president. Next week the top 10 Republican candidates will debate in Cleveland. These two big political events are keeping the state’s two major political parties busy.

It’s easy to understand why Ohio Republican Party Chair Matt Borges is looking forward to the debate: two new polls suggest that Gov. Kasich will make the cut. But Ohio Democratic Party Chair David Pepper said he’s excited about the debate too, and the opportunity it will bring his party to talk about Kasich.

In December, Ohio lawmakers passed a new redistricting process to put on the Ohio ballot this fall. But that plan doesn’t affect all redistricting, only legislative districts. Democratic State Rep. Mike Curtin has come up with a similar redistricting plan for congressional districts too.

“The 16 congressional districts in Ohio are even more badly hyper gerrymandered than our state legislative districts. They are all absurdly drawn districts. Everyone acknowledges that. And yet we are not dealing with it,” he said. 

Ohio statehouse
thoth188

Ohio lawmakers have finally come to a bipartisan agreement on redistricting that many are calling historic. The process of drawing lines for legislative districts has been controversial in the past, but an agreement passed in the Senate Friday will be sold to Ohioans as a way to make that process more fair.

“This is the most significant bi-partisan activity that I have been involved in in my time here in the House and the general assembly,” said Democratic State Representative Vernon Sykes, who’s leaving after 26 years in the statehouse.

Washington Gridlock Rooted In Gerrymandering

Dec 20, 2013
Dayton Daily News

The way states draw congressional districts may be a contributing factor to the dysfunction of today's political climate, according to an investigation by the Dayton Daily News published earlier this week. While gerrymandering is nothing new, it's now much easier.

A bipartisan proposal to change the way Ohio draws state legislative and congressional lines has cleared the state Senate with almost unanimous support.

The resolution would create a seven-member commission to draw all maps, and at least one minority party member would have to approve the boundaries.

The House isn't expected to act on the proposal and that chamber's vote is needed to put the measure before voters.

Sen. Frank LaRose, a co-sponsor, said the Senate plan could serve as a roadmap for discussion next year.

Both the statewide issues failed. Issue 1 would have convened a constitutional convention, and state lawmakers were hoping it wouldn’t pass so they could continue with an appointed commission which will make recommendations on changes to the constitution. And Issue 2 would have taken the power to draw the maps for state and federal lawmakers out of legislators’ hands and put it with a 12-member citizens’ panel.

Ohio voters have rejected a proposal to change the process for redrawing state legislative and congressional maps.

Issue 2 lost after a fight that pitted voter advocacy groups and unions against business interests and the Ohio Republican Party. Lawyers' groups split on the issue.

The constitutional amendment would have created a 12-member citizen commission to redraw Ohio's political districts every decade. It was prompted by discontent over the maps approved by the state Legislature in 2011.

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