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Statement from Fair Districts Ohio on the end of negotiations with state lawmakers

David Miller, Deputy Communications Director, January 29, 2018

After days of negotiations between members of the Fair Districts=Fair Elections coalition and leaders of the Ohio legislature, efforts to reach a compromise have failed. Legislative leaders have created a system that fails to minimize county splits or create a bipartisan system, leaving Ohioans across the state living in unfair congressional districts for the next decade.

“We sat for days in good faith and always said any deal must halt partisan gerrymandering and keep communities together.  S.J.R. 5 does neither and completely abandons the voters,” said Heather Taylor-Miesle, executive director of the Ohio Environmental Council and one of the leaders of Fair Districts=Fair Elections. “This is simply why no one trusts politicians. We have no choice to continue onward with our ballot initiative to ensure voters across Ohio aren’t gerrymandered into districts where their elected representatives aren’t beholden to voters.”

“We are disappointed that we couldn’t come together on a fair solution. The Huffman proposal simply does not address partisan gerrymandering,” said Ann Henkener with the League of Women Voters. “Any solution needs to focus on the voters and fair elections. Our ballot initiative will move Ohio to fair congressional districts, and we look forward to ramping up efforts to ensure voters have a chance to speak loudly this November.”

“Voters deserve fair districts that aren’t manipulated,” said Catherine Turcer, with Common Cause Ohio. “The Huffman proposal was amended but allows drawing district lines for partisan advantage and allows communities and counties to be sliced and diced. It would simply legitimize gerrymandering in the Ohio Constitution. We’re going to fight it.”

The Fair Districts=Fair Elections coalition ballot initiative has thus far collected nearly 200,000 of a required 305,591 signatures to appear on the November ballot.