Thursday, May 10, 2018

Ohio voters pass limited reform of redistricting

Ohio's current congressional districts (Vox map)
Ohio voters reformed their redistricting system in a referendum Tuesday, with about 75 percent of voters favoring the proposal aimed at limiting partisan gerrymandering. "The new redistricting process, which affects how Ohio draws its congressional district lines, will be used when those lines are next redrawn, after the 2020 census," Andrew Prokop reports for Vox.

The ballot initiative received strong bipartisan support, and passed both the state House and Senate unanimously three months ago. That's notable in a state with some of the most pro-Republican gerrymandered districts: In 2012, though President Obama won the popular vote in Ohio, Republicans won 12 of the state's 16 congressional districts under the map Republicans created in 2010.

The plan could limit Ohio Republicans' power in the future, but groups like the League of Women Voters and Common Cause gathered public support for reform, and the GOP feared that failing to cut a deal would result in more radical measures later. With this plan, "the legislature would have to try to come up with a new map supported by a big bipartisan majority," Prokop reports. "If they fail, however, a one-party map could still pass — but it would now expire after four years, rather than the current 10." The plan also restricts how often counties can be split up, and mandates that maps can't "unduly" favor a political party or its incumbents. That will be open to interpretation by the courts.

No comments: