COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Third time’s the charm for a group seeking to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot to overhaul the redistricting process and end gerrymandering in Ohio.
The attorney general’s office announced Monday it accepted a petition summary for a proposed amendment to establish an independent redistricting commission. The approval, granted after three attempts, is the first of several hurdles the group Citizens Not Politicians must overcome before the amendment makes it on voters’ ballots.
The amendment would replace Ohio’s seven-member, bipartisan redistricting commission with a 15-member commission whose members are equally split among Democrats, Republicans and independent voters. It would also prevent any recent politician, lobbyist or major political donor from serving on the commission.
“We are pleased to clear this step in the process and look forward to the next phase with the Ohio Ballot Board,” a spokesperson for Citizens Not Politicians said in a statement. “Ohioans are very receptive to our nonpartisan plan to replace politicians with citizens on a reformed redistricting commission in a transparent redistricting process and to require that all congressional and legislative maps be fair to voters.”
The proposal has been proposed as an answer to voters’ — and the courts’ — calls to end partisan gerrymandering in the state. The approval of the petition summary comes a week after a divided Ohio Redistricting Commission waded through infighting and delays to approve a pair of maps potentially more favorable to Republicans than the maps they were ordered to replace.
The proposed amendment next faces scrutiny by the Ohio Ballot Board, which will determine whether it contains a single constitutional amendment. Upon board certification, Citizens Not Politicians will be able collect signatures to place the amendment on the ballot.