OSBA 2018 May Primary Election information

​Early voting for the May 8, 2018 Primary Election began on April 11, 2018. This year, in addition to weighing in on the party nominees for state, local and federal offices as well as local issues, Ohioans will also decide the fate of a constitutional amendment that seeks to reform congressional redistricting in Ohio.

If you haven’t had a chance to brush up on the details, the OSBA has got you covered. The following provides background on State Issue 1 as well as helpful links to ensure you can get to the polls (or vote from the comfort of your own home).

General Voting Information

Visit www.MyOhioVote.com to see what’s on your ballot, find your polling place, view the early voting schedule (for in-person voting prior to Election Day), or if you want to vote by mail, to request your ballot.

State Issue 1 - Creates a bipartisan, public process for drawing congressional districts

Certified Ballot Language

Background:
The current process for drawing congressional districts in Ohio is controlled by the Ohio General Assembly. Because only a majority vote is required to adopt the final map, the will of the party in control of the General Assembly following each decennial census has long reigned supreme. This, many critics over the years have charged, leads to partisan gerrymandering and has unfairly tipped the scale in favor of majority political party.

The Ohio Legislature, by a bipartisan vote (83-10 in the Ohio House, and 31-0 in the Ohio Senate) is asking Ohio voters to approve a new process that would require support from both political parties to adopt a 10-year map. After employing a number of prescribed steps (as outlined in the full text of the amendment), if there is still an impasse and no bipartisan agreement can be reached, then a shorter-term map could be adopted, but w​​ith explicit anti-gerrymandering requirements.

Under this proposal, the one person-one vote rule still applies, requiring that each congressional district be drawn to have the same number of people, but new criteria would also be added to keep districts geographically compact and communities of interest together. The proposal also requires there to be public hearings on the map and that citizens have an opportunity to submit their own plans for consideration. It is important to note that the Supreme Court of Ohio will have exclusive, original jurisdiction should the map be challenged.

If you are feeling a bit of déjà vu, you may be remembering that Ohio voters previously approved a constitutional amendment in 2015 to make the process for drawing district lines more bipartisan, but that was only for state legislative districts (the Ohio House and Senate). That process will be deployed for the first time in 2021, using the new 2020 Census data. The same goes for the new process for drawing congressional districts should Ohio voters follow suit and approve State Issue 1 this May.

What Proponents Say:
Ohioans have an unique opportunity with State Issue 1 to reform the inherently partisan system for drawing congressional districts in order to create a more fair, bipartisan and transparent process that will keep communities together and curb gerrymandering. This plan has wide, bipartisan support.

Read the Official Argument for State Issue 1.

What Opponents Say:​
Some opponents prefer the current system, which relies on Ohio voters to hold legislators accountable at the ballot box if they do not like the maps drawn by the party in power. Others feel that the proposal, while better than the current system, does not go far enough to protect voting rights.

Read the Certified Argument Against State Issue 1.

OSBA Position: No position taken

Learn more about State Issue 1: Informational video produced by the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office.

Further reading on redistricting:

Ohio Lawyer magazine: Column by OSBA Assistant Executive Director for Policy and Public Affairs Todd Book: Statehouse Connection: Winds in the East

Newspaper Editorials:

Cleveland Plain DealerYes on State Issue 1 for congressional redistricting reform in Ohio

Columbus DispatchYes on Issue 1 for Congressional Redistricting Plan

Op Ed by Former Republican Governor Bob Taft and Former Democratic Governor Ted Strickland: Issue 1 is cure for Ohio’s lopsided election districts

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