Ohio Redistricting Reform Watch HJR 13Background and procedural information
HJR 13 would have amended Art. XI of the Ohio constitution to create an independent apportionment commission. The primary sponsor was Rep. Kevin Dewine. Ohio currently uses a commission to draw districts, but the commission is composed of a mix of politicians and members of the public. This bill would replace the politicians from the commission with four political appointees, and three appointments by the remaining members. The bill ultimately failed.
Under the proposed legislation, are single-member districts a requirement or otherwise implied?
Yes. The bill, HJR 13, specifically allocates one member per district. Additionally, it explicitly references the 99 house districts and 33 senate districts of which the committee is charged with drawing the boundaries. Currently, Ohio law provides for 99 representatives and 33 senators, so this language could be interpreted as a requirement for single-member districts. Further, Art. XI § 5, which remains unchanged by this amendment, explicitly provides for single member districts.
Does the proposed legislation provide for Voting Rights Act compliance (e.g. can the commission use voter history information)?
Yes. The bill requires any plans to comply with the Ohio and federal constitutions, and any applicable provisions relating to the protection of minority voting rights.
Under the proposed legislation, how is the commission formed?
The bill proposes a 7-member board. One member is appointed by the speaker of the Ohio house, one is appointed by the house minority leader, one is appointed by the president of the Ohio senate, and one is appointed by the Senate minority leader. The remaining three members are appointed by the aforementioned four members who shall give consideration to the diversity of the state. Additionally no members can be past or present partisan elected officials or candidates.
Under the proposed legislation, are competitive districts favored?
Yes, when competition does not conflict with our established criteria (ie: compactness, contiguity, preservation of existing political subdivisions). Competition is measured by taking the average presidential partisanship from the last three cycles and ensuring that the partisanship of a proposed district falls within 5 points.
Under the proposed legislation, can members of the public submit plans?
Yes. The bill explicitly allows residents to submit plans and requires the commission to allow for public input.
Does the proposed legislation allow for mid-decade redistricting?
The bill states that the apportionment board is to meet only in years ending in "1," starting with 2011, but it makes no references to other times apportionment is allowed nor bans future redistricting.