Ohio voters approve redistricting issue


Poll workers arrived at the Portage Board of Elections office in Ravenna on Tuesday night, October 3, 2015, after polls had closed. The poll workers organized the ballots before bringing them to the election office.

Karl Schneider

With more than 98 percent of precincts reporting, Ohio voters overwhelmingly approved Issue 1, which will create a bipartisan, public process for drawing legislative districts.

The issue passed with 71.49 percent of voters approving the issue and 29.51 percent voting no.

“Ohio voters spoke loud and clear that they want a redistricting process that is fair and transparent and ensures every Ohioan has their voice heard at the Statehouse,” said Fair Districts for Ohio co-chair Vernon Sykes.

According to the ballot language, Issue 1 would allow a bipartisan approach to redrawing the district maps in 2021. The 99 House and 33 Senate districts are redrawn every 10 years after the decennial census.

Issue 1 marks the fourth attempt that Ohio citizens have tried amending the current redistricting process. The current process lets a five-member board select the district maps. The current members of the board are the governor, state auditor, secretary of state and two other members hand-picked by the legislative leaders of the two major political parties.

The new amendment would allow for a seven-member board to redraw the district maps. Along with the governor, state auditor and secretary of state, Issue 1 allows for four more members selected by the majority and minority leaders of the General Assembly, according to the ballot language.

A bipartisan, majority vote of four members will be required to finalize any final plans for the districts.

The citizen-born Issue 1 will “ensure a transparent process by requiring public meetings, public display of maps and a public letter explaining any plan,” according to the ballot.

“This issue is proof that when you work together in a bipartisan manner, you can accomplish great things,” said Fair Districts for Ohio co-chair Matt Huffman. “I’m thankful for the support of so many groups on this campaign, and to the voters of this state for this overwhelming victory.”