(The Center Square) – The Ohio Ballot Board on Thursday approved a citizen-led effort to once again change how the state draws legislative districts.
Now, the group pushing for a constitutional amendment that would create a 15-member citizen redistricting commission to draw district lines must collect enough signatures to get on the 2024 ballot.
“I am very pleased that the Ohio Ballot Board moved to certify this amendment as being a single issue,” said Sen. Paula Hicks-Hudson, D-Toledo, who serves on the Ballot Board. “By doing this, we have removed a hurdle so that the citizens of Ohio can move forward with this initiative and fulfill our duty to enable the will of Ohioans, not our own legislative agendas.”
The Ballot Board certified the proposed amendment contains a single amendment. Proponents must collect signatures from registered voters equal to at least 10% of the vote cast in the most recent gubernatorial election. Those signatures must come from voters in at least 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties and, for each of those counties, the number must equal at least 5% of the vote cast in the most recent gubernatorial election.
If enough signatures are verified by the Ohio secretary of state at least 65 days before the election, the question will appear on the ballot.
“We are so pleased we can begin collecting the signatures needed to place redistricting reform on the ballot,” said Catherine Turcer, Common Cause Ohio executive director. “Ohioans have been fighting gerrymandering for years, and we now know it is not enough to put prohibitions on gerrymandering in the Ohio Constitution. It’s time to take mapmaking out of the hands of elected officials and create a truly fair and transparent independent citizens redistricting commission.”
The Ohio Redistricting Commission unanimously approved state legislative maps at the end of September to be used until 2030.
In May 2018, Ohio voters approved a constitutional amendment that was expected to create a bipartisan redistricting commission. The commission consists of seven members – a member appointed by the Senate president, the House speaker, Senate minority leader and House minority leader, the governor, state auditor and the secretary of state.