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 10th 2005
Why Redistricting and Campaign Reform Are Both Still Relevant
TPM Cafe

This political column cites FairVote as it points to the value of getting rid of winner-take-all elections to as the next step in redistricting reform.

November 2nd 2005
Gerrymander may help GOP in '06
The Napa Valley Registrer

An article that cites FairVote on why Gerrymandering harms elections and has an impact on skewed results.

November 2nd 2005
California, Ohio to vote on redistricting changes
Washington Post

FairVote's Rob Richie gets the last word on lack of voter choice in our elections, as this wire article reports on redistricting reform efforts in California and Ohio.

November 2nd 2005
How Money Buys Power in American Politics

Francis X. Clines, an editorial board member for the New York Times, writes on national politics, gerrymandering and the resultant decreased competitiveness in Congressional elections. Fairvote is cited.

October 27th 2005
To Tame Polarization Of Politics, Fix Our Redistricting System
Roll Call

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