If your head has been in a spin as you watch partisan redistricting change your district and who your representative is, a citizens group believes it has the answer, and has seen their efforts take an important step forward.
On Monday, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office certified the petition for a proposed amendment to the Ohio Constitution that would change the process for congressional redistricting in Ohio.
On May 10, 2017, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office received a written petition to amend the Ohio Constitution, entitled the Bipartisan Congressional Redistricting Reform Amendment, from the attorney representing the petitioning committee, Fair Congressional Districts for Ohio. The petition was certified today as containing both the necessary 1,000 valid signatures from registered Ohio voters and a “fair and truthful” summary of the proposed amendment.
The amendment would amend Article XI of the Ohio Constitution to provide that the redrawing of congressional districts every two years following the U.S. Census would be conducted by the bipartisan Ohio Redistricting Commission, which is established in the state constitution and was approved by the voters in 2015 to draw general assembly districts.
That commission would also be charged with drawing U.S. congressional districts. Currently, the state legislature is responsible for drawing congressional districts and bipartisan approval is not required.
The commission would be made up of an equal number of members of the two major parties and no member of the U.S. Congress would be permitted to serve on the commission.
“Without passing upon the advisability of the approval or rejection of the measure to be referred, but pursuant to the duties imposed upon the Attorney General’s Office, I hereby certify that the summary is a fair and truthful statement of the proposed law,” Attorney General Mike DeWine stated in the certification letter.
Once the summary language and initial signatures are certified, the Ohio Ballot Board must determine if the amendment contains a single issue or multiple issues. The petitioners must then collect signatures for each issue from registered voters in each of 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties, equal to 5 percent of the total vote cast in the county for the office of governor at the last gubernatorial election. Total signatures collected statewide must also equal 10 percent of the total vote cast for the office of governor at the last gubernatorial election.
The full text of today’s letter and the amendment petition submitted can be found at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/Petitions.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewisPDT.
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