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%

November 19th 2005
Redistricting reform: How best to tackle ultra-safe districts
Sacramento Bee

FairVote's Rob Richie argues in commentary running in several newspapers that redistricting reformers must challenge winner-take-all elections.

November 16th 2005
In Canada, regular folks are put to work on reforms
San Jose Mercury News

Steven Hill prescribes a citizens assembly as a solution for achieving consensus on redistricting reform in California.

November 15th 2005
Citizens Must Drive Electoral Reform
Roll Call

Heather Gerken of Harvard Law suggests a citizens assembly as one means to achieve redistricting reform and buy-in from voters.

November 13th 2005
Arnold had the right idea about redistricting
The Herald News

The Herald News cites Fairvote with commentary about the dangers of Gerrmandering and redistricting obstacles.

November 13th 2005
ARNOLD AGONIZES: How the election changed the governor -- and California
San Francisco Chronicle

Article discussing the recent failure of redistricting reform in California and the potential solution in letting the citizens decide through a Citizens Assembly on Election Reform.

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