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ISSUE 1–Redistricting reform is a great idea whose time has arrived

The Executive Committee of UAPA has unanimously agreed to endorse Issue 1.  Issue 1 has been endorsed by the Ohio Republican Party, ACLU, ProgressOhio, Ohio Chamber of Commerce, League of Women Voters, and many others. The ballot language has been approved and it will appear on the ballot in Ohio in the November 2015 election.

Currently, districts (state not Congressional) are drawn by a commission consisting of the governor, state auditor, secretary of state and two senators (one from each party). When one party holds all of the state-wide offices, they can draw a map that provides very safe districts and reduces competition. Current maps are in force until after the next Census. Non-competitive districts result in politicians who have no need to listen to their constituents and only need fear a challenge from the most active ideologues in their own party. Issue 1 can result in improved representation for all of us.

This bi-partisan plan to reform the redistricting process will create a seven-member Ohio Redistricting Commission comprising at least two members from the minority party and co-chaired by a member of each party.  A map must receive at least two votes from each party to become an approved redistricting plan.  If that does not occur, a temporary plan is put in place that is good for four years.

Proposals must keep communities together and must minimize splitting of counties, municipalities, and townships.  The Ohio Supreme Court will be able to order the commission to redraw the map if it favors one political party. All commission meetings will be open to the public and there must be a minimum of three meetings.  The commission must present its proposal to the public for comment before voting on it.

We believe that this plan will improve the fairness of elections in Ohio and we urge everyone to vote for Issue 1.

Note: The Ohio Democratic Party has not yet officially endorsed Issue 1, but we anticipate that they will do so shortly.

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