Last year, Ohio voters overwhelmingly supported redistricting reform for the state legislature. More than 71% of voters approved Issue 1 “Fair Districts Ohio” in 2015, which passed in all 88 counties. Unfortunately, congressional redistricting reform hasn’t moved at the Ohio Statehouse.
The Fair Districts = Fair Elections Coalition is seeking public input on its congressional redistricting reform proposal. Please review the proposal, we’d love to hear your suggestions. Submit your recommendations in the comment section below or send Catherine Turcer an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here for a PDF of the proposal.
Proposed Congressional Redistricting Reform Language
The underlined language below indicates proposed additions and deletions in Article XI of the text of the Ohio Constitution after the inclusion of amendments approved by 71% of Ohio voters as Issue 1 in November 2015. If there is no change, the language is not underlined or is not presented here, as indicated by ….
Ohio Constitution Article XI
Section 1. (A) The Ohio redistricting commission shall be responsible for the redistricting of this state for U.S. Congress and for the General assembly. The commission shall consist of the following seven members… [no changes in Divisions (A) (1) through (7)]
(8) No appointed member of the commission shall be a current member of Congress.
[No changes in Section 1 (B) (1) or Section 1(B) (2) (a) and (b)]
(B) (3) The affirmative vote of four members of the commission, including at least two members of the commission who represent each of the two largest political parties represented in the general assembly shall be required to adopt any congressional or general assembly district plan. [No changes in the remainder of this paragraph, or the first paragraph of Section 1 (C)]
(C) [second paragraph] The commission shall release to the public a proposed general assembly district plan for the boundaries for each of the ninety-nine house of representatives districts and the thirty-three senate districts. The commission shall also release to the public a proposed congressional district plan for the boundaries of the prescribed number of congressional districts as apportioned to the state pursuant to Section 2 of Article I of the Constitution of the United States. The commission shall draft the proposed plans in the manner prescribed in this article. [No change in the remainder of this paragraph]
[third paragraph] The commission shall adopt a final congressional district plan and a final general assembly district plan not later than the first day of September of a year ending in the numeral one. After the commission adopts a final plan, the commission shall promptly file the plan with the secretary of state. Upon filing with the secretary of state, the plan shall become effective
Four weeks after the adoption of a congressional district plan and a general assembly district plan the commission shall be automatically dissolved.
[Section 1 (D) is not changed]
Section 2. Each congressional district shall be entitled to a single representative in the United
States House of Representatives in each congress. [No changes in the remainder of this paragraph]
[Note: Insert a new Section 3, and the current Sections 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 10 are renumbered Sections 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11, respectively.]
Section 3. (A) (1) The whole population of the state, as determined by the most recent federal decennial census, shall be divided by the number of congressional districts apportioned to the state pursuant to Section 2 of Article 1 of the Constitution of the United States, and the quotient shall be the congressional ratio of representation for ten years next succeeding such redistricting.
(2) The commission shall minimize the extent to which each congressional district's population differs from the congressional ratio of representation, as is practicable, while taking into account the criteria set forth in Section 3 (C) in the creation of congressional districts. The commission may include in a congressional district plan an explanation of the reason that any district contains a population that is not equal to the congressional ratio of representation.
(B) Any citizen of the United States permanently residing in the state of Ohio may submit a congressional district plan for the Ohio redistricting commission’s consideration. The office of the Ohio Secretary of State shall make available on request by any Ohio citizen the data and computer software needed to draw a legally valid map in accord with the criteria in division (B) of this Section.
(C) The Ohio redistricting commission shall draw congressional districts based on the following criteria.
(1) Every congressional district shall be composed of contiguous territory, and the boundary of each district shall be a single nonintersecting continuous line.
(2) Any congressional district plan shall comply with all applicable provisions of the constitutions of Ohio and the United States and of federal law.
(3) No congressional district plan shall be drawn primarily to favor or disfavor a political party or candidate.
The Ohio redistricting commission shall seek to 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 last ten years.
(4) (a) The Ohio redistricting commission shall, to the greatest extent practicable and consistent with divisions (2) and (3) of this section, minimize the number of splits of county, municipal corpora-tion, and township boundaries, in that order.
(b) Where feasible, no county, municipal corporation or township shall be split more than once.
(c) A county, municipal corporation, or township is considered to be split if any portion of its territory is not contained entirely within one district.
(d) For the purposes of this section, if a municipal corporation or township has territory in more than more county, the municipal corporation or township shall not be considered split so long as, within each county, all portions of that municipal corporation or township are contained with a single district.
(D) The Ohio redistricting commission shall establish and publicly announce a time period of at least two weeks for the public to submit plans for the commission’s consideration.
Section 4 [previously Section 7, which should be deleted]. Notwithstanding the fact that boundaries of counties, municipal corporations, and townships within a district may be changed, district boundaries for both the U.S. congress and the general assembly shall be created by using the boundaries of counties, municipal corporations, and townships as they exist at the time of the federal decennial census on which the redistricting is based.
Section 10 (A) The supreme court of Ohio or, with regard to congressional redistricting, an applicable federal court shall have exclusive, original jurisdiction in all cases arising under this article. [No changes in the remainder of this section.]
[Sections 5, 6, 7, 8 , 9 and 11 are unchanged]
The Fair Districts = Fair Elections Coalition seeks to reform the way Ohio's Congressional Districts are drawn with the goal of prohibiting, or at least reducing, partisan gerrymandering. Additionally, the Coalition seeks to increase fairness and accountability in the Congressional map-making process. The Coalition is currently urging the state legislature to place Congressional Redistricting Reform on the 2017 ballot.