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%

October 23rd 2005
Who Should Redistrict?

The New York Times Magazine explains the dilemmas many states, including California, face as they attempt to create competitive and fair congressional districts. Dean Murphy cites FairVote's statistics.

October 15th 2005
Wamp fresh leadership for sagging Republicans
The Tennessean

According to FairVote's Ryan O'Donnell, the Republican party should seize the opportunity to embrace electoral reforms, and take the lead on ending gerrymandering.

October 5th 2005
Mapping the way to a better system
Boston Herald

Why Massachusetts should turn a critical eye towards gerrymandering. This article mentions Fairvote.

October 2nd 2005
Several states may change redistricting process
L.A. Times

Discussion of redistricting practices in California, Massachusetts and Florida. Mentions Tanner's bill.

September 25th 2005
Local GOP breaks with governor to oppose redistricting
Auburn Journal

An article about the debate over a proposal that would give a panel of judges the responsibility of redistricting

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