OHIO REDISTRICTING AMENDMENT, ISSUE 2, 2012

The Ohio redistricting Amendment, also known as Issue 2, is an initiated constitutional amendment appearing on the November 6, 2012 Ohio ballot.

The measure seeks to create a 12-person citizen commission to draw legislative and congressional district maps that would reflect the state’s geographic, racial, ethnic and political diversity.

The initiative would bar lobbyists and elected officials from joining the commission.

At this time, the Ohio Legislature is charged with redrawing district maps every ten years based on population shifts.

Ballot Language of the proposed amendment seeks to

1.  Remove the authority of elected representatives and grant new authority to appointed officials to establish congressional and state legislative district lines.

2.  Create a state-funded commission of appointed officials from a limited pool of applicants to replace the aforementioned.

The commission will consist of 12 members as follows:  four affiliated with the largest political party, four affiliated with the second largest political party and four not affiliated with either of the two largest political parties.

Affirmative votes of 7 of 12 members are needed to select a plan.

3.  Require new legislative and congressional districts be immediately established by the Commission to replace the most recent districts adopted by elected representatives, which districts shall not be challenged except by court order until the next federal decennial census and apportionment.

In the event the Commission is not able to determine a plan by October 1, the Ohio Supreme Court would need to adopt a plan from all the plans submitted to the Commission.

4.  Change the standards and requirements in the Constitution for drawing legislative and congressional districts.

5.  Mandate the General Assembly to appropriate all funds as determined by the Commission, including, but not limited to, compensating Staff, Consultants, Legal counsel and Commission members.

If approved, the amendment will be effective thirty days after the election.

Source:  Ballotpedia and Voters First

 The following pros and cons are quoted from the League of Women Voters’ website:

 Proponents argue that

1.  The proposal is a common sense reform towards fixing a broken system.

2.  It would reduce the extreme partisanship that makes compromise difficult.

3.  The drawing of congressional and legislative district lines needs to be more accountable, transparent and balanced.

4.  Politicians and special interests would not be able to rig the system to their advantage.

Opponents argue that

1.  Redistricting should not be put in the hands of unelected bureaucrats.

2.  Commission members would not have requirements about ethics and financial disclosure and could not be removed.

3.  The commission would have unlimited funding.

4.   Most Ohioans would be prohibited from serving on the panel based on rigid eligibility rules.

Source:  Quoted from League of Women Voters website 

My Take on the opposition arguments 1, 2 & 3:  Yeah, like our elected bureaucrats are beacons of ethical probity and fiscal responsibility.  Point 4 isn’t worthy of comment.

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