Labor Day weekend marks the unofficial end of summer, and communities all around Ohio will be having festivals, fairs, barbecues, parades, and many other public events that are perfect for collecting petition signatures.
We need your help so that people who want to sign a petition can find an event where we are collecting signatures. If you are organizing an effort at an event this weekend, please send an email with details to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How many signatures do we need?
As a reminder, in order for our Fair Districts petition to qualify for the ballot, we need signatures equal to or greater than 10% of the total number of votes in the last gubernatorial election (305,591). Of that signature total, we need at least 44 counties to have signatures equal to or greater than 5% of each county’s total number of votes in the last gubernatorial election.
The latest numbers & counties to focus our efforts
The #1 most asked question we get is how many signatures do we have. A close second is what are my county’s numbers.
At this stage of the campaign, we are really focused on reaching that 44 county requirement, and, once we have done that, we can keep building toward the 305,591 total needed from anywhere in the state.
Based on petitions turned in and processed so far, 8 counties have exceeded the 5% threshold needed to file and another 41 counties are making very good progress toward the 5% mark.
Here is a list of counties nearing the 5% threshold needed to file. A good solid push over the next week or two could do it.
If your organization wants to take a road trip or go into new territory, please concentrate your petitioning efforts in these counties.
Turn in your petitions after Labor Day
We are asking all volunteers to turn in petitions with any number of signatures by September 10, after Labor Day, so that we can get another updated count.
Many thanks to all the wonderful volunteers working so hard to make Fair Districts a reality!
By Dan Vicuna, National Redistricting Manager for Common Cause
Ohioans have been leading the way for many years. More presidents were born in Ohio than any other state. Ohio is also the birthplace of aviators and astronauts. And we all know that Cleveland rocks!
Ohio has the opportunity to lead the way again and improve democracy by mandating partisan fairness in the drawing of congressional districts.
Only 11 states explicitly prohibit partisan gerrymandering or have some protection against drawing districts for political advantage.
The Bipartisan Congressional Redistricting Reform Amendment would extend Ohio’s prohibition, which currently applies only to General Assembly districts, to congressional redistricting. The measure’s explicit ban on partisan gerrymandering is a huge step in the right direction, but another section of the proposal takes an even more novel approach. This initiative would make Ohio the first state in the country to directly address one of the most common types of congressional gerrymanders: those in which districts are drawn to give a party far more seats than its vote totals should allow.
Following the last census, many state legislatures drew congressional districts designed to give one party this unfair advantage. In 2012, the first election post-redistricting, Republicans won 51 percent of all votes cast for Ohio’s U.S. House of Representatives candidates while Democrats won 47 percent. Despite this somewhat even vote split, Republicans won 12 of 16 congressional races, a whopping 75 percent of districts. A similar pattern in favor of Democrats can be seen in states such as Illinois and Maryland, where Democrats drew districts.
The Bipartisan Congressional Redistrict Reform ballot initiative would address this discrepancy directly with the following provision:
“The Ohio redistricting commission shall maximize representational fairness by adopting a plan whose statewide proportion of districts most closely corresponds to the partisan preferences of the voters of Ohio as measured by the statewide proportion of votes in state and federal partisan statewide general election results during the previous ten years.”
This provision would ensure that, for example, if Party A has won about half of the state’s total votes in elections for statewide offices (examples: governor, senator, and attorney general) over the last 10 years, the Ohio redistricting commission would choose the plan that would give Party A the opportunity to win about half of congressional seats. This would discourage the manipulation of elections through the slicing and dicing of communities to rig districts in a way that is not representative of the politics of the state.
No state in the U.S. currently targets partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts with such pinpoint accuracy. In addition to the ballot initiative’s other protections against one-party dominance of redistricting, this unique partisan fairness measure will help Ohioans lead the way in the nationwide fight to end gerrymandering.
There are many ways to help slay the gerrymander. An essential step is collecting signatures and helping to get the word out about the need for fair districts and fair elections. Together, Ohioans can lead the way!
Common Cause’s Redistricting Activist Handbook