Fair Districts Ballot Initiative

Initiative Petition Summary INITIATIVE PETITION ​To the Attorney General of Ohio: Pursuant to Ohio Revised Code § 3519.01(A), the undersigned electors of the State of Ohio, numbering in excess of one thousand, hereby submit to you the full text of a proposed Amendment to the Ohio Constitution and a summary of the same.

TITLE Bipartisan Congressional Redistricting Reform Amendment

SUMMARY The Amendment would amend Article XI of the Ohio Constitution to provide that the redrawing of congressional districts every ten years following the U.S. Census shall be conducted by the bipartisan Ohio Redistricting Commission, which is established in the state constitution and was approved by the voters in 2015 to draw general assembly districts; and to establish rules for drawing congressional districts, including, but not limited to, rules related to prohibiting drawing districts to favor a political party or candidates, keeping communities whole by minimizing splitting of political subdivisions, maximizing statewide representational fairness and minimizing the extent to which the population of districts are not equal.

More specifically, the amendment would, among other things:Authorize the bipartisan redistricting commission approved by the voters of Ohio at the 2015 general election to draw state general assembly districts to also draw U.S. congressional districts. Currently, the state legislature is responsible for drawing congressional districts and bipartisan approval is not required.

  • Apply many of the same provisions approved by the voters in 2015 with respect to redrawing of state legislative districts, to congressional districts, including, but not limited to: certain same procedural deadlines; provisions for public hearings; requirements for bipartisan support of commission members to adopt a plan; and provisions for funding and operation of the commission. 
  • Keep the bipartisan composition of the commission as previously approved by the voters, but prohibit any member of the U.S. Congress from serving as a commission member.
  • Require that congressional districts be drawn based on the following criteria:

    (a) Compliance with all applicable state and federal laws, including those protecting minority voting rights;
    (b) Contiguousness;
    (c) No district plan shall be drawn to favor or disfavor a political party or candidates;
    (d) Minimize the number of splits of counties, municipal corporations, and townships, in that order, and where feasible, no county shall be split more than once;
    e) Representational fairness based on the statewide partisan preferences of the voters during the previous ten years of statewide general elections in even numbered years; and
    (f) Compactness.Gerrymandering Poster

If all of the above criteria cannot be feasibly attained, then priority would be in the order in which each criterion is listed.

  • Permit any Ohio citizen to submit a proposed congressional district plan for the Commission's consideration, and the Secretary of State to make available to any Ohio citizen the data and computer software needed to draw a proposed plan.
  • Vest the Ohio Supreme Court with exclusive, original jurisdiction over court challenges to any congressional district plan.
  • Provide that in the event that any congressional district plan made by the Ohio redistricting commission, or any district, is determined to be invalid by an unappealed final order of a court of competent jurisdiction, then, notwithstanding any other provision of the state constitution, the commission shall be reconstituted as provided in Section 1 of Article XI, convene, and ascertain and determine a congressional district plan in conformity with then valid provisions of the state constitution, including establishing terms of office and election of members of Congress from districts designated in the plan, to be used until the next time for redistricting under Article XI.