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Redistricting Reform - Issue 1 On The Ohio Ballot - Passes Overwhelmingly

Karen Kasler
Ohio Public Radio

The first issue on the Ohio ballot was the first to be called, as it was apparent early on that voters were approving it overwhelmingly.

The amendment to change the way state lawmakers’ districts are drawn sailed to victory, thanks to bipartisan support and very little opposition. Catherine Turcer with Common Cause Ohio has been working for years to reform redistricting laws, and naturally was thrilled at the outcome. “It’s like Christmas. I got the best present, and the thing that’s exciting is that this is for all of us,” Turcer said. "This has been many years and that we could really make a difference for voters for years to come is both wonderful and astonishing.”

The measure adds two state lawmakers or legislative appointees to the five member board that draws the lines, currently made up of the governor, auditor, secretary of state and two legislators or people appointed by them. Issue 1 would require at least two members of that seven member board be members of the party not in power, and at least two minority party members must agree on the map of state House and Senate districts for those maps to last 10 years. If not, the maps would have to be redrawn after four years. Backers said giving incentive to the majority party to create maps that can be embraced by the minority would make the process more bipartisan.

But Sandy Theis with Progress Ohio said it’s not over. “We’re not done. This was a great first step. We have to fix the Congressional map,” Theis said. “We have the momentum to do it. And the reason why the Republicans didn’t want to put the Congressional in this one is because there was a pending Supreme Court case that they thought we needed to resolve. It’s resolved, so let’s move on to Congressional – keep the team together and fix that part of the problem.”

The first state lawmakers’ maps to be drawn under Issue 1 won’t be created until after the next census, so the first election under this reform won’t happen until 2022.