Trio of Good Government Groups File Congressional Redistricting Proposal: Congressional Reform Mirrors State Reform Measure Approved by 71% of Ohio Voters in 2015

Monday, April 24, 2017

In partnership with the League of Women Voters of Ohio and Common Cause Ohio, the Ohio Environmental Council announced today an initial collection of over 1,000 signatures in support of the Fair Congressional Districts for Ohio ballot proposal, which mirrors the legislative redistricting reform plan that Ohio voters endorsed by a vote of 71-29 percent in 2015.

“From congressional districts straddling Lake Erie, to those along the Ohio River and those nestled in the farmlands of western Ohio, we all deserve federal representatives who will fight in support of issues facing our communities, not on behalf of their political parties,” said Heather Taylor-Miesle, Executive Director for the Ohio Environmental Council.

Carrie Davis, Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio said, “this is a critical effort to ensure fair districts and fair elections for every congressional seat in Ohio. When members of Congress have safe seats drawn to guarantee which party wins, the real losers are the voters. With our initial collection of over 1,000 signatures from across the Buckeye State, the League of Women Voters of Ohio firmly believes this effort will ensure all Ohioans are represented in our nation’s capital.”

“In 2015, Ohioans overwhelmingly supported state legislative redistricting reform. Issue 1 of 2015 won by more than 71% of the vote and won in all 88 counties. We are building on that momentum,”said Catherine Turcer, Policy Analyst for Common Cause Ohio. “What’s good for the Statehouse is good for Congress. We’re excited to work toward fixing the congressional mapmaking.”

The text of the proposal was available for public comment for five months.

Summary of the Proposed Constitutional Amendment

  • No congressional district map shall be drawn to favor or disfavor a political party or candidates.
  • Each district will be nearly equal in population (one person, one vote) with the splitting of communities (counties, cities and townships) kept to a minimum.
  • Districts shall be geographically compact.
  • The Voting Rights Act and other state and federal laws that protect minority representation shall be respected.
  • Representational fairness is required. This means that the congressional map should reflect the will of Ohio voters. This reinforces the prohibition on gerrymandering or drawing a map to favor one political party over another. The proposal requires that partisan makeup reflects statewide elections over the previous ten years.
  • The bipartisan Ohio Redistricting Commission (established by Issue 1 in 2015) will draw state legislative, as well as congressional district maps.
  • The Ohio Redistricting Commission includes the Governor, the Auditor, the Secretary of State and appointees of the Speaker of the Ohio House, House Minority Leader, the Ohio Senate President and the Senate Minority Leader.
  • To pass a new congressional map requires a majority of the Ohio Redistricting Commission approve the map with a minimum of two votes from the minor political party.

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