The Fair Congressional Districts for Ohio Ballot Committee statement on the Attorney General’s disapproval of the ballot summary:
Columbus, OH--We are disappointed that our summary was rejected by the Ohio Attorney General. The denial of the summary by the Attorney General was due to a technicality in which we did not explicitly state that the Ohio Supreme Court would have exclusive jurisdiction over challenges, and that the bipartisan Ohio Redistricting Commission would be reconstituted if a congressional redistricting plan or map is deemed not to be valid.
Today’s denial by the Attorney General is merely a speedbump on the road to reform.
The Fair Congressional Districts for Ohio ballot committee remains committed to redistricting reform because Ohio’s congressional districts are some of the most intricately and egregiously gerrymandered in the country. The manipulation of districts warps the outcome of congressional elections and creates “safe” seats protecting incumbents, making it nearly impossible for voters to hold our elected officials accountable.
It is not unusual for summaries to be rejected once before final approved by the Attorney General.
The Fair Congressional Districts for Ohio Ballot Committee is comprised of Carrie Davis of the League of Women Voters of Ohio, Catherine Turcer of Common Cause Ohio and Heather Taylor- Miesle of the Ohio Environmental Council.
For more information about the proposal, visit the Fair Districts = Fair Election Coalition’s website fairdistrictsohio.org.
Contact: Catherine Turcer, Common Cause Ohio, 614-579-5509.
Fair Districts = Fair Elections Coalition Takes First Step to Putting Congressional Redistricting Reform on the Ballot
After waiting patiently for legislative action, the Fair Districts = Fair Elections Coalition has decided to take congressional redistricting reform directly to the people.
For the past two weeks Coalition members quickly collected the first thousand valid signatures to kick off a congressional redistricting reform ballot campaign. Yesterday, these voters’ signatures, the proposal and the summary were submitted to the Attorney General.
This is the first step in the process of putting congressional redistricting reform before the voters.
A big thank you to those of you who collected the initial signatures!
Carrie Davis, Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio said, “This is a critical effort to ensure fair districts and fair elections for every congressional seat in Ohio. When members of Congress have safe seats drawn to guarantee which party wins, the real losers are the voters.”
In 2015, voters overwhelmingly supported the passage of state legislative redistricting reform. Issue 1 of 2015 passed by more than 70% and won in all 88 counties. Unfortunately, the Ohio General Assembly has not acted on the mandate to put congressional redistricting reform before the voters.
It’s a long road to the ballot but Ohioans are fortunate to have direct democracy!
After the summary is approved by the Attorney General and the Ballot Board to review the submission, we will being the large-scale signature-gathering effort.
We will need to collect 305,591 valid signatures of voters (in 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties five percent of total vote cast for the office of governor in that county in the last gubernatorial election).
It will take activists from all over the state to put congressional redistricting reform on the ballot. Sign up today to collect help collect signatures!
Summary of Proposed Amendment to the Ohio Constitution
By Catherine Turcer, Common Cause Ohio
After months of public comment, the Fair Districts = Fair Elections Coalition has finalized its congressional redistricting reform proposal.
The proposal is very similar to Issue 1 of 2015 that was passed by the voters in 2015. Issue 1 was passed by more than 71% and won in all 88 counties. What's good for the Statehouse is good for Congress!
The Fair Districts = Fair Elections Coalition has been waiting for the Ohio General Assembly to put congressional redistricting reform on the ballot, the way that they put on state legislative redistricting reform before the voters in 2015. Unfortunately, they have not acted leaving redistricting reformers with only one option-- a citizen-initated ballot measure.
The congressional redistricting reform proposal is simpler than Issue 1 of 2015 because citizen-initiated ballot measures are more likely to pass if easily digested. Congressional districts are smaller so the the focus of mapmaking is on the larger building blocks of counties.
Summary of the Proposed Amendment
Sign up for one of our many volunteer opportunities. If you have questions about volunteering, please email the Fair Districts = Fair Elections Coalition or give us a phone call.
The vote was close and both logos had fans. Laura Cotton who voted for the winner said, “The purple is great from a symbolic perspective, but the other is really a better design. It will also be cheaper to print only 2 colors.”
“Both are good designs, but Option A seems more direct, clean and simple to recreate,” commented Jan Underwood.
Mary Ann Barnes describes her reason for supporting the winning logo, “While option B cleverly colors us as a purple state, I prefer the greater simplicity and use of one less color tone in option A. Option A would be easier to use for printed materials, with or without color.”
Katie Valeska Wright who created the logos is excited to work with the Fair Districts = Fair Elections campaign and said, “Redistricting reform is my number one cause because without fair and competitive elections, we don't have much of a democracy. It's a bipartisan issue—when an official is in a 'safe' (gerrymandered) seat, they don't have to work to earn your vote. Even if it's your party's candidate who's 'safe,' they have little incentive to listen to your concerns and truly represent you, the voter. Fair elections for all!
“Volunteering has been so rewarding; I get to use my strengths to help make a difference. No matter what you're skilled at, there are organizations that need what you've got to offer. Find your niche and get out there for your favorite cause!”
Drum Roll, please. The winner is: Option A!
Together, we can end #gerrymandering. We are planning on changing our logo and we would appreciate hearing your feedback. Vote on the new Fair Districts = Fair Elections Coalition logo today. The logo with the most votes by Friday, March 17 at 5:00 PM will be declared the winner!
Option A Option B
Congressional Redistricting Reform Once Again Introduced by an Ohio Legislator – But Will It Go Anywhere?
This week, Ohio Senator Frank LaRose (R-Copley) introduced a joint resolution, SJR 3, proposing to amend the Ohio Constitution to change the rules for drawing Congressional districts.
Senator LaRose has been a steadfast advocate for redistricting reform – in fact he introduced one of the proposals last session that languished in the General Assembly – and we greatly appreciate his continued pursuit for reform.
During the legislative process, proposals tend to be rewritten and revised several times. So with that in mind, here are the specific elements the Fair Districts = Fair Elections Coalition believes are essential to include in any meaningful Congressional redistricting reform proposal:
While the Fair Districts = Fair Elections Coalition continues to support efforts to pass reform in the legislature, we will carefully scrutinize any proposal to ensure it includes these essential protections. However, that said, last session the legislature failed to move on any of the redistricting reform proposals, including LaRose’s.
Until the legislature passes a proposal to put meaningful reform before voters, the Fair Districts = Fair Elections Coalition will continue moving forward with a citizen initiative.
For those who have been asking, yes, there will be petitions coming, but we cannot give you an exact date to expect them. The campaign is moving forward – we have polling underway, we are aggressively fundraising because citizen initiatives are expensive, and we are recruiting and training field volunteers.
The best things people can do to help are to sign up for one of the many volunteer opportunities, donate, and spread the word urging others to sign on ---- info on all three can be found at www.fairdistrictsohio.org.
Redistricting Conference for Fair Districts Brings Together Top National Experts & Reform Advocates at Duke University
On March 2-3, many of the nation's leading redistricting experts and reform advocates will gather at Duke University for a conference highlighting efforts around the country to end the undemocratic practice of drawing legislative districts for poltical advantage.
Redistricting Reform: Mapping Our Future is co-hosted by Common Cause, the Campaign Legal Center, and Duke University’s Center for Political Leadership, Innovation, and Service (POLIS). The conference will be livestreamed.
Panel discussions will feature prominent redistricting litigators and leaders of national and state advocacy campaigns to reform our broken redistricting system. Panelists will share and compare strategies that have brought about significant redistricting reforms across the nation.
Ahead of their publication in Election Law Journal, winners of Common Cause’s “Gerrymander Standard” writing competition will discuss their innovative ideas to create a judicial standard for measuring political gerrymanders.
What: “Redistricting Reform: Mapping Our Future” Conference
Who: Leading Redistricting Experts and Reform Advocates
When: Thursday, March 2, 2017 8:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Friday, March 3, 2017 8:00 AM - 1:30 PM
Where: Duke University
201 Science Dr.
Durham, NC 27708
For live stream, click here.
For a full agenda and complete list of participants, click here.
Hashtag for the conference: #fairmaps
Questions? Contact Bob Phillips of Common Cause North Carolina,
(919) 605-3835 or firstname.lastname@example.org
by Catherine Turcer, Common Cause Ohio
Redistricting happens following the census and is based on changes in population so it’s
hard to know exactly how a fairer congressional map might look but we have some clues.
Following the 2010 census, redistricting reform advocates joined forces to create the
Ohio Campaign for Accountable Redistricting. The goals of the Campaign were simple:
1. Increase transparency during the 2011 Ohio redistricting or mapmaking process and
2. Give citizens the opportunity to draw state legislative and congressional districts
Together, the League of Women Voters of Ohio, Common Cause Ohio, Ohio Citizen
Action and other partners held a real-time competition using census data and partisan
information created by Cleveland State University Prof. Mark Salling. This competition
gave citizens the opportunity to draw state legislative and congressional districts.
Criteria for the 2011 Ohio Redistricting Competition
respect the Voting Rights Act.
This congressional map was created by