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%

June 18th 2006
Where politicians dare to tread
San Francisco Chronicle

The San Francisco Chronicle editorial board endorses the British Columbia Citizens Assembly approach to electoral reform, specifically noting the potential for proportional representation in California.

March 21st 2006
Real redistricting reform is proportional representation
San Francisco Examiner

Rob Dickinson of Californians for Electoral Reform writes a commentary on how recent proposals to make the redistricting process fairer miss the mark. For real progress in how we elect our representatives, we need to turn to proportional voting.

March 1st 2006
Tanner redistricting bill gains Senate sponsor
The Hill

Senator Tim Johnson introduced a companion bill to Rep. John Tanner's federal redistricting reform legislation. The identical bills, supported by FairVote, would set up state commissions to handle redistricting only once a decade.

December 20th 2005
Overhaul of state electoral system sought

Following on the heels of the defeat of redistricting reform in California, Republican and Democratic legislators plan on introducing legislation to create a citizens assembly for election reform and discuss proportional voting for the state.

December 11th 2005
A Dramatic Idea for Election Reform
New York Times

A Times reader highlights the fundamental weakness of any single-member district-based system: gerrymandering is unavoidable.

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