- Citizens, not politicians, have once again been given permission to collect signatures for a citizen-led redistricting initiative.
- The group’s previously approved proposal had to go through a second round of state approvals because of a typo in the measure that was originally submitted to officials.
- If approved, a question proposing a constitutional amendment to reform the Buckeye State’s redistricting system would appear on the ballot in November 2024.
Supporters of a proposal to change Ohio’s troubled political mapping system will finally be able to start collecting signatures, after receiving a second round of state approvals on Monday.
Citizens Not Politicians now has until July 3 to collect the nearly 414,000 signatures needed to put the constitutional amendment before voters in November 2024. Supporters are expected to fan out across the state beginning this week to try to make it on the statewide ballot. Next fall.
Their proposal would replace the current Ohio Redistricting Commission, made up of three statewide officeholders and four state legislators, with an independent body chosen directly by citizens. The members of the new committee will be diversified according to party affiliations and geography.
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The efforts have seen repeated delays. It began with two early rounds of objections to the petition’s language by Republican Attorney General Dave Yost before the wording was initially approved. Then the Ohio State Ballot Board unanimously approved the measure in October, only for organizers to discover they had made a single-digit typo on the date.
The mistake sent the process back to the drawing board: first, through Yost’s desk; Then it went back through the ballot board, which again approved the measure as a single issue on Monday.
Citizen-led redistricting initiative gets approval to collect signatures on ballot in Ohio
The campaign said supporters of the gerrymandering change are eager to start circulating petitions. Among them is Nadia Zaeem, of the Cleveland suburb of Westlake, who said she was excited to see a new method chosen for drawing legislative and congressional maps in Ohio.
She said the current system allows politicians of both parties “to ignore the will of their voters, knowing that they will continue to be elected and re-elected, not because they had the support of a majority of voters, but because they rigged the election.” “The system is in their favor.”
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This effort comes in the wake of the repeated failure of the current structure to produce constitutional maps. During the lengthy process of redrawing district boundaries to take into account 2020 Census results, court challenges led to two congressional maps and five sets of statehouse maps being rejected as unconstitutional gerrymandering.