Following months of negotiation, the Ohio House today passed Senate Joint Resolution 5, bipartisan legislation that puts a constitutional amendment before voters in May to restrict congressional gerrymandering in the state. 


“In 2015, over 71% of Ohioans voted to change the redistricting process. While I am still concerned about the splitting of Ohio’s largest population counties and the lack of provision to guarantee voting rights, SJR 5 is a marked improvement over Ohio’s current method of drawing our congressional districts,” said state Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid). “I voted for SJR 5 because it’s an improvement, but I did not cosponsor this legislation because it could be better.”


Democratic House expressed concerns over several parts of the proposed plan that they see as loopholes that, in extreme cases, could still allow partisan congressional district rigging. Ultimately, most Democrats still supported the final language in the resolution.


If approved by voters in May, the reform plan will be the first time fairness criteria for congressional districts will be included in the state’s constitution. Included among the plan’s changes are the right for a citizen-led referendum on any map, the governor’s authority to veto a map, requirements to limit community and county splits, and bipartisanship requirements for a 10-year map.

 
 
 
  
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