Ohio Issue One: What you need to know
Issue 1: Creates a bipartisan, public process for drawing legislative districts.
The following was prepared by the League of Women Voters of Ohio
A YES vote means approval of the constitutional amendment. A NO vote means disapproval of the constitutional amendment. A majority YES vote is required for the amendment to be adopted. If approved, the proposed amendment will take effect immediately after Election Day.
League Explanation of Issue 1:
Issue 1 would amend the Ohio Constitution to change the way state legislative districts (but not U.S. Congressional districts) are determined. Every 10 years, Ohio draws new legislative district lines based on changes in population as reported in U.S. Census data. Issue 1 replaces the Apportionment Board with a bipartisan Ohio Redistricting Commission. If Issue 1 passes, members of the Commission will include:
- The Governor - Auditor of State
- Ohio Secretary of State
- Appointee by the Speaker of the Ohio House
- Appointee by the President of the Ohio Senate
- Appointee by the Minority Leader of Ohio House
- Appointee by the Minority Leader of Ohio Senate
The Ohio Redistricting Commission will be responsible for creating district maps for the Ohio House and the Ohio Senate. Issue 1 establishes rules for map-making. It ensures compactness and keeps communities together by prohibiting splitting governmental units, like counties or cities, unless necessary. Issue 1 prohibits partisan gerrymandering. No General Assembly map shall be drawn primarily to favor or disfavor a political party. Issue 1 creates more transparent map-making by requiring public hearings. If the amendment is passed, it will become part of the constitution immediately; however, the new rules for drawing districts will not be applied until the next time districts are redrawn beginning January 1, 2021, after the next U.S. Census.
Issue 1 encourages bipartisan map-making. For the maps to last ten years, at least two members of the minority party will have to vote in favor of it. If only one party supports a particular map, the district lines will only last four years. Map-making will be subjected to stricter criteria, including the requirement that the districts reflect the statewide partisan preferences of voters, sometimes called representational fairness. 3
1. Prohibits partisan gerrymandering-- “No General Assembly district plan shall be drawn primarily to favor or disfavor a party” will be written into the rules in the Ohio Constitution.
2. Requires transparency and public hearings, encouraging accountability to the electorate.
3. Districts will better protect community cohesiveness by limiting government units such as counties and cities from being split.
4. Eliminates the continuation of previous gerrymandering by removing language from the current Ohio Constitution that requires new maps to be “reasonably consistent” with old maps.
1. Many Ohioans are not Republican or Democrat. Third parties and Independents are not represented on the Commission.
2. Issue 1 does not address the process for determining U.S. Congressional districts.
3. The Ohio Redistricting Commission is not independent from legislators; legislative members can still influence the process.
4. Bipartisan Commission members can make “sweetheart deals” that can result in districts that are not representative of the state’s overall partisan preferences.