Yard signs will be available from the League of Women Voters of Ohio by April 11. Reserve yard signs today.
Issue 1 has now been officially endorsed by both the Ohio Democratic Party and the Ohio Republican Party. I wanted to draw your attention to a line from last Sunday’s op-ed by Former Governors Bob Taft and Ted Strickland:
“We both give tremendous credit to the citizens’ groups in Ohio who formed the Fair Districts = Fair Elections coalition after years of frustration with the current mapmaking process. Their efforts to push for a ballot initiative establishing a bipartisan redistricting commission sparked action among Ohio’s elected leaders.”
The Primary Election is quickly approaching and two new organizers have joined the Fair Districts = Fair Elections Team.
Mia Lewis who has collected more than 3,000 signatures has been hired as Common Cause Ohio’s Campaign Coordinator. She is helping organize the important activities that will help educate voters about Issue 1. Many of you have likely heard from her already. She is working with regional leaders to come up with plans to distribute information about gerrymandering and Issue 1 at events and at the polls.
In addition, Michaela Hahn Burriss, formerly of the Small Business Majority, has been hired by Represent.US to organize 24 phone banks around the state of Ohio.
Please help me welcome Mia and Michaela and, if you haven’t already please, sign up today to help get the word out about Issue 1. You can also search for and post events related to Issue 1 at this Campaign Event Map.
Yard signs will be available from the League of Women Voters of Ohio by April 6. Reserve yard signs today.
Got petitions? Please return signed petitions by April 12. The address at Petition Central is: 35 E. Gay St., Suite 404, Columbus, Ohio 43215. We need to have an updated signature count.
Gerrymandering took center stage at the US Supreme Court last week. On March 28, the highest court considered a Democratic gerrymander. Maryland officials denied that any gerrymandering occurred. But even if it did, they maintain, the courts should not address gerrymandering because there are no manageable standards for them to use to determine when partisan gerrymandering goes too far. It was not clear from the argument on Wednesday which direction the Supreme Court is heading. Justice Stephen Breyer went so far as to propose that the court should hold another argument not only in the Maryland and Wisconsin partisan-gerrymandering cases, but also in the North Carolina partisan-gerrymandering case that is currently on hold for the first two cases. To learn more about click on this link: Benisek v. Lamone.
Reminder: April 9 is the voter registration deadline for the May 8 primary. Verify and update your registration today at myohiovote.com.
Do you have questions? Our phone number is 614-259-8388 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
May 8th is right around the corner. Just as we relied on your hard work and expertise to get us this far, we are turning to you again to help us spread the word about Issue 1 and advocate for the strongest YES vote.
Whether it is distributing flyers at an event, talking to your neighbors, or doing a presentation to a group--we need your help!
Volunteers will also be able to order t-shirts and yard signs--more info coming soon.
Please fill out THIS FORM to let us know all the ways in which you are willing and able to help (and add in your own suggestions as well). We will provide you with flyers (and soon with buttons, T-shirts, and yard signs), as well as the talking points below.
Talking Points for Issue 1
Issue 1 vs Signature Gathering
Thank you for all you do!
Catherine Turcer, Common Cause Ohio and Fair Districts
A big thank you to Arnold Schwarzenegger for inviting the Fair Districts = Fair Elections Coalition to the Arnold Sports Festival!
We had a wonderful time terminating gerrymandering and talking to Ohio voters.
The Guvernator also met with Governor John Kasich and legislative leaders to toast the passage of congressional redistricting reform which will be Issue 1 on the May 8, 2018 ballot.
Issue 1 of the May Ballot
Thanks to the collection of more than 200,000 signatures to place congressional redistricting reform on the November ballot, the Ohio Senate unanimously passed their own bipartisan plan on February 5. The Ohio House moved quickly and voted (83-10) on February 6. The resolution, Senate Joint Resolution 5 (SJR 5), establishes strong protections against one-party control of congressional redistricting reform. Voters will need to approve this proposed change to the Ohio Constitution, which will be Issue 1 on the May Primary Ballot.
The Ohio General Assembly would never have taken action if it wasn’t for the work of redistricting reformers like you. Thank you so much for all your hard work to improve democracy! A big thank you to the team of redistricting reformers who are busy organizing petitions at Petition Central.
Click here for Flyer about Issue 1
Some Talking points:
Click here for More Information on Issue 1
Signature gathering to place the Fair Districts = Fair Elections proposal on the November General Election Ballot will continue in case SJR 5/Issue 1 does not pass in May. Thank you so much for collecting signatures. Please turn in your petitions regularly.
Let’s Get Together!
On March 11 from 2:00pm to 4:00pm at the Whetstone Public Library, 3901 N. High Street, Columbus, Ohio 43214, let’s get together to talk about Issue 1 of May 2018 and the next steps for slaying the gerrymander. Sign up here.
If you have questions, suggestions or would like to organize another discussion or event, please call 614-259-8388.
Thank you for all your hard work fighting gerrymandering!
Common Cause and Fair Districts
Our efforts are paying off! After years of advocacy and months of gathering signatures for a new ballot initiative that would make the process for drawing Ohio’s congressional map more fair and less partisan, Ohioans across the state may have finally convinced the General Assembly that inaction on gerrymandering is unacceptable.
Tonight, the Ohio Senate (31-0) passed a proposed amendment to the Ohio Constitution that meets the standards our Fair Districts = Fair Elections coalition have demanded from any congressional redistricting reform proposal. We have demanded that:
Here’s how it works:
Stage One: Passage of a map requires a three-fifths vote of both the House and Senate and must include at least 50 percent support of minority party members. If that doesn’t work…
Stage Two: Ohio’s existing seven-person bipartisan redistricting commission will be empowered to draw districts and must approve a map with at least two minority party votes. If that doesn’t work…
Stage Three: The legislature gets another chance to pass either (1) a 10-year map with one-third of the minority party’s support or (2) a four-year map without minority party support. If the process gets to the last stage not requiring minority party support, stricter rules protecting against unfair manipulation would apply.
Elected officials do not give up the power to draw one-sided congressional districts on their own. This happened because of your visits, rallies, calls, and emails, and because together we have gathered more than 200,000 signatures.
We are about to make history because of your hard work. The Ohio House will vote on this proposal on Wednesday. If it’s approved, it will go to the ballot for voter approval in May. Thank you for keeping up the fight and pushing the Ohio General Assembly to do the right thing.
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
Together, we are slaying the gerrymander. Due to your hard work we now have over 188,000 valid signatures with 27 counties over the 5 percent threshold. Counties that reached the threshold since December 12: Ashland, Geauga, Hardin, Knox, Morrow, Muskingum, Union, Warren and Wyandot. We need more than 305,000 valid signatures. Please keep collecting in all counties and please keep getting those petitions in.
With the weather getting colder and winter beginning in earnest, we must shift our collection strategy, but there are still plenty of opportunities to interact with more voters. Make sure you are bundling up and staying warm.
Fair Districts & Redistricting Reform in the News:
Editorials Week of December 17:
Cleveland Plain Dealer, Ohio Redistricting Reform Can Work - If the Rules Are Tight
Akron Beacon Journal/Ohio.com, Redistricting Repair Faces a Deadline
Week of December 24:
Dayton Daily News, Ohio Voters May Change Way Congress Lines Are Drawn
WOSU, Ohio Joins Wave of States Trying to Erase Gerrymandering
Week of December 17:
WOSU, 'Gerrymandering Is Really Bullying': Inside Ohio's Attempt to Reform Redistricting
WKSU, Ohio Is at the Center of a National Debate over Drawing Political Lines
WKSU, Ohio Voters May See Two Anti-Gerrymandering Issues on Their Ballots Next Year
WKSU, How Did Ohio's Most Liberal City End Up with Its Most Conservative Congressman?
Cleveland.com, No Ohio Gerrymandering Fix Yet and No Details on Progress- Out of Line: 2017 and Beyond
WKSU, Snakes, Ducks and Toilet Bowls: How Does Ohio Shape Its Congressional Districts?
WKSU, Summit County Has Four Congressional Districts but Not a Member of Congress to Call Its Own
Please donate online or mail a check to Fair Congressional Districts for Ohio, c/o League of Women Voters of Ohio, 100 E. Broad St., Suite 1310, Columbus, OH 43215.
2017 was a rough year but seeing so many people committed to working to create a more functional and healthy democracy continues to be truly inspiring. More than 2,700 people have turned in petitions. In 2018, we are going to end gerrymandering. Have a Happy New Year from Fair Districts Team!
Redistricting reformer Linda Magoto lives in Upper Arlington and helped design a T-shirt that asks the obvious question "What's wrong with this picture?"
Why did you choose “What's wrong with this picture?”
As a concerned voter, I want everyone to know how ridiculous our district lines have become. I wear my shirt to attract attention when I am out in front of public places to gather signatures. I encouraged many people to do the same.
It sounds like you care a lot about congressional redistricting reform?
YES!! I am passionate about getting this issue on the ballot for 2018. We must act now. Whether Republican or Democrat, it is the right thing to do. We want our representatives to listen to us.
I am tired of my representatives not listening to the voters. Frankly, they don't need to listen anymore. Their seats are secure because the district lines have been drawn to give them complete job security. That goes for both parties.
The lines are drawn to benefit the party in the majority. Our voice is totally lost unless we pass a law that requires the following:
1) A new fair process to draw Ohio congressional districts
2) Bipartisan redistricting commission
3) A halt to the secrecy of drawing the district lines
4) Finally, stop the craziness that our current district lines display. WE NEED COMPACT FAIR DISTRICTS!
Our district lines are so unfair that it is difficult to get someone to run in opposition to the current official because the deck is stacked so unfairly.
Do you have any recommendations for people who want to help get signatures to place Fair Districts on the ballot?
Taking a buddy with you makes for a more enjoyable experience, but at times it is not possible. Don't be afraid to go it alone. Currently, I am focusing on local Post Offices, senior centers and retirement homes. I am also connecting with friends in different areas of the state and putting them in touch with someone collecting signatures in their area.
Fairdistrictsohio.org gives me all the current information that I need. IT'S TIME TO COLLECT SIGNATURES!
Do you know a redistricting reformer that we should highlight? Please send an email to email@example.com.
Redistricting reformers waited for a long time to kick off the Fair Congressional Districts for Ohio campaign. Ohio voters can't be faulted for assuming that the legislature would take action after the successful passage of Issue 1 in 2015, which won by more than 71% of the vote and in all 88 counties. When the Ohio General Assembly failed to act, redistricting reformers began circulating petitions and we now have over 174,000 signatures.
After two public hearings of state legislature's Congressional Redistricting Reform Working Group, legislators have reported some productive conversations. Let's make sure that those discussions continue to focus on what's best for Ohio voters, rather than what's good for those in power.
It's time to end gerrymandering and our legislators must either walk away or pass real, substantive redistricting reform.
Wondering how you can help? Host a Postcard Party! Get together with your friends and send a note to the members of the Congressional Redistricting Reform Working Group. If you are interested in holding a Postcard Party, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or call or write your Statehouse representative today, to say that Ohioans deserve fair districts and fair elections: