Ohio Redistricting Watch - Ballot Initiative

Background and procedural information
A ballot measure faced voters on Nov. 5, 2005 that would've created an independent redistricting commission. The measure ultimately failed by approximately 70% to 30%.

Under the proposed legislation, are single-member districts a requirement or otherwise implied?
Yes. The ballot initiative explicitly requires single-member districts.

Does the proposed legislation provide for Voting Rights Act compliance (e.g. can the commission use voter history information)?
Yes. The ballot initiative does not put a prohibition on the data the commission is allowed to use to draw districts.

Under the proposed legislation, how is the commission formed?
The ballot initiative proposes a 5-member board. Under the initiative plan, the two longest-serving state court judges from opposite parties must each appoint one member of their party. These two members then must meet and agree on the other three members. Of the three members chosen by the original two, at least one must not be affiliated with any political party, and no two can be from the same political party.

Under the proposed legislation, are competitive districts favored?
Yes. Section six of the proposed Amendment explicitly requires the drawing up of competitive districts.

Under the proposed legislation, can members of the public submit plans?
Yes. The proposed amendment would allow for citizens to propose plans to the committee. The commission must create a website to make certain demographic information available to the public.

Does the proposed legislation allow for mid-decade redistricting?
The ballot initiative also does not allow for mid-decade redistricting, but calls for redistricting in the first odd numbered year after its adoption (which would presumably be 2007).

Update On November 8, 2005 Ohio voters went to the polls and voted down the initiative by a vote of 71% to 29%

May 14th 2008
Is the House of Representatives Too Small?

The U.S. House of Representatives has been at 435 members since 1911, when the country was a third of its current population. Research suggests that districts may now be getting too big for adequate representation.

November 15th 2006
Redistricting Reconsidered
Washington Post

Citing FairVote's Dubious Democracy 2006, an editorial notes that non-competition in U.S. House races has causes more fundamental than gerrymandering.

November 1st 2006
Lines of demarcation
Dallas-Fort Worth Star-Telegram

FairVote research cited in this commentary on lopsided redistricting, uncompetitive districts and the party primary battles they inspire.

October 30th 2006
Electile Dysfunction?
News Release Wire

Former FairVote President Matthew Cossolotto calls for a range of reforms, highlighting two problems of American democracy: "counting the votes" and "making votes count."

August 19th 2006
Eliminate districts
Contra Costa Times

CA resident calls for proportional voting in one statewide district as a congressional redistricting reform.

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