Saturday, April 14, 2018

Ohio Issue 1 Congressional Redistricting Procedures Amendment

Ohio Issue 1, the Congressional Redistricting Procedures Amendment, is on the Ballot in Ohio as a Legislatively referred Constitutional Amendment on May 8th, 2018.

A "Yes" Vote supports Changing the Vote Requirements to Pass Congressional Redistricting Maps and the Standards used in Congressional Redistricting in Ohio.

A "No" Vote opposes New Congressional Redistricting Procedures and Standards, thus allowing the Ohio General Assembly to continue Adopting Congressional Redistricting Plans through a simple Majority Vote.


The Current Congressional Redistricting system in Ohio?

As of 2018, the Ohio General Assembly is responsible for Adopting the State’s Congressional Redistricting Plan, subject to the Governor’s Veto or Citizen-Initiated Veto Referendum. Adopting a Congressional Redistricting Plan requires a simple Majority Vote in both Chambers of the State General Assembly. The last time the State General Assembly adopted Congressional Maps was in 2011, which followed the 2010 U.S. Census. Republicans controlled the State Senate, State House, and Governor’s Office, thus holding a Trifecta in State Government. Republicans adopted a Congressional Redistricting Plan with the Support of 4 of 50 Legislative Democrats or 8%.

What would Issue 1 change about Congressional Redistricting?

Issue 1 would create the following Process for Congressional Redistricting in Ohio:

- The Measure would Require the State Legislature to adopt a 10-year Congressional Redistricting plan with 60% of Members in each Chamber Voting in Favor and 50% of Republicans and 50% of Democrats, or whichever Two Parties have the most Members in the Legislature, Voting in Favor.

- Should the State Legislature Fail to meet these Vote Requirements, then the Seven-Member Ohio Redistricting Commission, established via Issue 1 in 2015, would get a chance to Adopt a 10-year Congressional Redistricting Plan, with support from at least Two Members of the Minority Party.

- Should the Commission Fail to Adopt a Plan, the Legislature would get a Second Opportunity to adopt a 10-year Plan, but with a Lesser requirement of One-Third of the Members from the Two Major Parties supporting the Proposal.

- Failure at this Stage would result in the Legislature Adopting a Plan through a simple Majority Vote, with No Bipartisan Vote requirement but Stricter Criteria, and with the Plan lasting Two General Election Cycles of Four years, rather than 10 years.

Issue 1 would take effect on January 1st, 2021, and apply to Congressional Redistricting following the 2020 U.S. Census.

How did Issue 1 get on the Ballot?

Issue 1 resulted from Negotiations between State Senate Republicans, Senate Democrats, and the Leaders of a Committee involved in a Redistricting Initiative Campaign. Keary McCarthy, Executive Director of the Ohio Mayor’s Alliance, described Issue 1 as "an agreement where both sides had some discomfort." The State Senate passed Issue 1 in a Bipartisan Vote of 31-0. In the State House, more than 80% of Democrats and Republicans supported the Measure.

The Fair Districts = Fair Elections Coalition, which was backing an Initiative to transfer Congressional Redistricting Powers from the Legislature to a Commission restructured in 2015, had collected 200,000 Signatures when Negotiations led to an Amendment. Jim Siegel and Bennett Leckrone, Writing for The Columbus Dispatch, said that the Campaign's Signature Drive provided an Incentive for Legislators to Compromise and Approve Issue 1.

House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-91st District)) described Issue 1 as an Historic Compromise, stating, "We are showing across the nation, that here at least in Ohio, we still know what it means to compromise, to work across the aisle, to have adult conversations and actually do something for the citizens of our state."

Michael Li, Senior Counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice said that Issue 1 was "a bit of a tradeoff." He stated, "The legislature passed safeguards against one party using its control of the redistricting process to totally shellac the other, but it doesn’t mean that lawmakers couldn’t cut other kinds of bipartisan deals."

Issue 1

To Amend the Version of Section 1 of Article XI that is Scheduled to take effect January 1st, 2021, and to enact Sections 1, 2, and 3 of Article XIX of the Constitution of the State of Ohio to establish a Process for Congressional Redistricting. A Majority Yes Vote is necessary for the Amendment to Pass.

The Proposed Amendment would:

End the Partisan Process for Drawing Congressional Districts, and Replace it with a Process with the Goals of Promoting Bipartisanship, keeping Local Communities together, and having District Boundaries that are more Compact.

Ensure a Transparent Process by requiring Public Hearings and allowing Public Submission of Proposed Plans.

Require the General Assembly or the Ohio Redistricting Commission to adopt New Congressional Districts by a Bipartisan Vote for the Plan to be Effective for the Full 10-year period.

Require that if a Plan is adopted by the General Assembly without Significant Bipartisan Support, it cannot be Eeffective for the entire 10-year Period and must comply with explicit Anti-Gerrymandering Requirements.

If Passed, the Amendment will become Effective Immediately.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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