JANUARY 29, 2017
CONTACT: Catherine Turcer, Common Cause Ohio, 614-579-5509
Columbus, OH -- After days of negotiations between members of the Fair Districts=Fair Elections coalition and leaders of the Ohio legislature, efforts to reach a compromise have failed. Legislative leaders have created a system that fails to minimize county splits or create a bipartisan system, leaving Ohioans across the state living in unfair congressional districts for the next decade.
“We sat for days in good faith and always said any deal must halt partisan gerrymandering and keep communities together. S.J.R. 5 does neither and completely abandons the voters,” said Heather Taylor-Miesle, executive director of the Ohio Environmental Council and one of the leaders of Fair Districts=Fair Elections. “This is simply why no one trusts politicians. We have no choice to continue onward with our ballot initiative to ensure voters across Ohio aren’t gerrymandered into districts where their elected representatives aren’t beholden to voters.”
"We are disappointed that we couldn't come together on a fair solution. The Huffman proposal simply does not address partisan gerrymandering,” said Ann Henkener with the League of Women Voters. “Any solution needs to focus on the voters and fair elections. Our ballot initiative will move Ohio to fair congressional districts, and we look forward to ramping up efforts to ensure voters have a chance to speak loudly this November."
"Voters deserve fair districts that aren't manipulated,” said Catherine Turcer, with Common Cause Ohio. “The Huffman proposal was amended but allows drawing district lines for partisan advantage and allows communities and counties to be sliced and diced. It would simply legitimize gerrymandering in the Ohio Constitution. We’re going to fight it."
The Fair Districts=Fair Elections coalition ballot initiative has thus far collected nearly 200,000 of a required 305,591 signatures to appear on the November ballot.
Voters finally have an opportunity to give the Senate feedback on their sham redistricting proposal SJR 5, which does nothing to stop partisan gerrymandering.
There will be two hearings for opposition testimony: Tuesday at 2:30 pm and Wednesday at 9:45 am (with a possible vote afterwards) in the Senate Finance Hearing Room. (room 126S on this map - easiest entry is from 3rd St, then up the stairs).
If you are willing to testify, please RSVP using this link so that we can plan accordingly. You will also need to provide Drew.Hawking@ohiosenate.gov with an electronic copy of your testimony no later than 24 hours before committee.
Let's give them an earful of why this proposal does not amount to REAL reform. Looking for inspiration? Read today's editorial the Cleveland Plain Dealer, which said the 'Blatantly skewed Ohio GOP congressional redistricting "reform" plan belongs in the trash."
Got five minutes? Call members of the Senate Committee that will be hearing this bill next week and let them know you OPPOSE SJR 5.
Chairman Bill Coley - (614) 466-8072
Vice Chair Joe Uecker [pronounced EEK-er] - (614) 466-8082
Senator Kevin Bacon - (614) 466-8064
Senator Troy Balderson - (614) 466-8076
Senator Bob Peterson - (614) 466-8156
Senator Kris Jordan - (614) 466-8086
Senator Frank LaRose - (614) 466-4823
Senator Matt Huffman - (614) 466-7584
Talking points may include:
Thank you for all that you do!
Catherine Turcer, Common Cause Ohio