By Carrie Davis, League of Women Voters of Ohio
There have been some exciting developments on the redistricting reform front!
Yesterday, statehouse legislative leadership said that they have been in discussions about congressional redistricting reform and anticipate making an announcement next week. (See “Legislative leaders meet on congressional redistricting,” Columbus Dispatch, 9/13/2017)
We are gratified that the legislature is finally taking this issue seriously.
No doubt, it has become increasingly hard for the Statehouse to ignore the 2700-plus Fair Districts volunteers around the state and the 120,000-plus Ohio voters who signed the Fair Districts initiative petition to ensure congressional redistricting reform makes it onto the 2018 ballot, with or without the legislature’s help.
While legislative leadership’s public comments are a hopeful sign, we have to balance that hope with a realistic appraisal of the situation.
Despite voters’ overwhelming passage of state redistricting reform in 2015, and our persistent lobbying, the legislature has thus far declined to act on any of the congressional redistricting reform proposals submitted in 2015, 2016, or 2017. Until the legislature does more than talk, we need to continue pushing forward with our Fair Congressional Districts for Ohio initiative.
That said, we have always supported a legislative solution and continued to lobby for reform in the legislature. However, we will carefully scrutinize any proposal to ensure it puts forward real reform, not just pay lip service to the problem.
Please contact your state senator and representative and urge them to support real redistricting reform for our congressional districts, including the following essential protections:
Until the legislature passes a proposal to put meaningful reform before voters, we will continue moving forward with a citizen initiative in order to make sure reform is enacted before the next time Congressional districts are redrawn. So keep collecting signatures!