(The Center Square) – Five years after Ohio voters passed a constitutional amendment to remove politics from redistricting, another attempt to create an independent commission hit a snag.
The Coalition Citizens Not Politicians, which includes two former Ohio Supreme Court justices, proposed creating a 15-member commission consisting of Republican, Democrat and independent citizens of different demographics and areas of the state.
Attorney General Dave Yost said the amendment’s summary was not a fair and truthful statement of the proposed amendment and rejected it.
“Having reviewed the submission, I am unable to certify the summary as a fair and truthful representation of the proposed amendment,” Yost wrote in a letter to the group. “During our review of the summary, we identified omissions and misstatements that, as a whole, would mislead a potential signer as to the actual scope and effect of the proposed amendment.”
Yost called the summary’s explanation of how the proposed new commission would be made up confusing and vague. He also said statements about a proposed bipartisan panel were misleading, along with other areas of the summary of the proposed amendment.
He said the proposal omitted critical words like how a panel to determine political party affiliation would be selected, and he had issues with how incarcerated individuals would be counted.
“The above instances are a just a few examples of the summary’s omissions and misstatements,” Yost wrote. “It is significant to ask voters to make factual findings at the ballot box. A summary that fails to inform a signer of the existence of such findings does not fairly and truthfully reflect the amendment’s import.”
As previously reported by The Center Square, a federal court eventually implemented maps twice ruled unconstitutional by the Ohio Supreme Court to be used in a second primary in August 2022.
The order came from a lawsuit filed by a group of Republican voters.
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, along with the governor, state auditor and secretary of state.
Five of the seven members of the 2022 commission were Republicans.