Ohio Redistricting Reform Watch HJR 6
Background and procedural information
HJR 6, introduced on 3/10/05, would have amended Art. XI of the Ohio constitution to create an independent apportionment board. The primary sponsor was the House Democratic whip, Steve Driehaus. 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 have removed the politicians from the commission. The bill failed.

Under the proposed legislation, are single-member districts a requirement or otherwise implied?
Yes. The bill, HJR 6, 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 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 bill proposes a 5-member board, with one member appointed by each of the 4 legislative leaders. The four appointed members elect the fifth member. There is no requirement for partisan equality.

Under the proposed legislation, are competitive districts favored?

Under the proposed legislation, can members of the public submit plans?
Yes. While the bill does not expressly state the public can submit plans, there is no language banning it.

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," but makes no references to other times apportionment is allowed nor bans future redistricting.  However, a separate bill, HJR 9, if passed, would ban mid-decade redistricting.

*Note: A proposal may be neutral on whether or not to favor competitive districts for a number of reasons, including that such a requirement may be thought to conflict with other criteria, potentially create other legal issues, or is assumed to flow from the new process itself -- or it might merely not be a priority for the legislative sponsors. FairVote believes that some form of proportional voting is needed to ensure maximum competitiveness for each seat and to ensure meaningful choices for all voters.

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 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.

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.

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