Politics

Ohio Voters Will Decide On Measure To End State Gerrymandering

| by Robert Fowler
Gerrymandering DistrictsGerrymandering Districts

Advocates are attempting to end gerrymandering in the state of Ohio. If passed, Issue 1 would amend the Ohio Constitution and create a bipartisan redistricting commission designed to keep district lines from favoring a particular political party. The people of Ohio will be able to vote on Issue 1 in the Nov. 3 election.

Gerrymandering is a political tactic used by legislators to give their party an unfair edge in elections, reports The Post Athens.

While Maryland and North Carolina are considered the most gerrymandered states, Ohio is among the top 10 most manipulated, according to The Washington Post.

Democratic State Sen. Lou Gentile of Steubenville, Ohio, says that his state’s districts are "some of the worst [he's seen]" according to The Post Athens.

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"What is really, truly disheartening is that essentially, legislative districts have been drawn in a way that benefits politicians,” says Gentile. "You have politicians choosing who their voters are instead of voters being able to choose who their elected officials are."

The Ohio Issue 1 is designed to combat this. If passed by voters, the measure will immediately amend the state constitution and establish the Ohio Redistricting Commission. The Commission will be bipartisan, including the Ohio Governor, Secretary of State, and a bipartisan mix of appointees from the Ohio House and Senate.

The Ohio Constitution would stipulate that “No General Assembly district plan shall be drawn primarily to favor or disfavor a party,” reports WFMJ. Public hearings on redistricting would also be allowed to encourage transparency.

However, third party and independent legislators will not be a part of the Commission. While the issue would immediately become law if passed, the new rules would not be applied until the Ohio districts are redrawn in Jan. 1, 2021.

Sources: The Post Athens, The Washington Post, WFMJ, YesforIssue1 / Photo credit: TruthOut / Flickr