Ohio Issue 1: Creates a Bipartisan, Public Process for Drawing Congressional Districts

A Constitutional Amendment proposed by Joint Resolution of the General Assembly

League Explanation of Issue 1

The proposed amendment would end the current partisan process for drawing congressional districts by a simple majority vote of the General Assembly. This amendment requires a map be adopted with significant bipartisan support, with the goals of keeping local communities together and having district boundaries that are more compact. If bipartisan support cannot be obtained, a four-year interim congressional map would be adopted. Such a map must comply with strict criteria to minimize gerrymandering.

Specifically the proposed amendment  would create a process for the state to adopt a congressional redistricting plan that would work as follows:

  • The General Assembly has an opportunity to draw a map, passage of which requires a three-fifths majority in each chamber, including support of at least half the minority party
  • Should the state legislature fail to meet these vote requirements, then the Ohio Redistricting Commission, established via Issue 1 in 2015, has the opportunity to pass a 10-year congressional redistricting plan requiring approval of at least four of seven votes, including affirmative votes from two members representing each of the two major parties.
  • If the commission also cannot reach the necessary consensus, the legislature can a) pass a map with one-third minority support, or b) pass a map with a simple majority and no minority party support that will only last four years and subject to very strict rules forbidding gerrymandering and limiting division of counties.

If passed, the amendment will immediately become part of the Ohio Constitution and will be implemented after the 2020 census.

League Pros & Cons

PROS

  • Issue 1 will establish fair standards for drawing congressional districts through its requirement of bipartisan approval or use of strict anti‐gerrymandering criteria.
  • It  will help keep our communities together by limiting the number of splits of counties, cities, and townships.
  • Issue 1 will ensure a transparent process by requiring public hearings and allowing public submission of proposed plans.

CONS

  • The current process for drawing new congressional districts is adequate and has served Ohio well for many years.
  • The current process is representative of the people's will since any map is passed by statewide officials, who were themselves elected.
  • If Issue 1 passes, there is the potential for having to redraw district lines every four years, which is a lengthy, expensive process.

Here is the language that will appear on the ballot

Here is the consitutional amendment language