League of Women Voters has again taken a lead in promoting fair districts for fair elections. We are working actively to put on the ballot a redistricting initiative for congressional seats. This is part 2 of what has already been passed for the state legislature.
Modeled after a plan voters overwhelmingly supported in 2015 for redistricting statehouse districts (71 percent), the Fair Congressional Districts for Ohio initiative was certified by the Ohio Ballot Board. That cleared the way for supporters to begin collecting the estimated 305,000 signatures needed to take the issue to voters. We have petitions and are seeking your signatures.
Gerrymandering has long been a problem in Ohio on both the state and federal level. One look at the Buckeye state's congressional map should tell voters everything they need to know. Some counties are split among five districts and we're not only talking about the more populous counties but those that have no business being split even in two.
While well-drawn districts are not necessarily shaped like squares, they certainly shouldn't look like the current Ohio districts, with its most notorious district stretching from the southern most point of the state to Youngstown or the district held together by a bridge.
The ballot initiative would turn over the map drawing every 10 years to the bipartisan, seven-member Ohio Redistricting Committee -- which includes elected officials and appointed members from both parties -- and require at least two members of the minority party to approve. According to the Fair Congressional Districts for Ohio website, the goals of the initiative are:
■ No congressional district map drawn to favor a political party or candidate.
■ Each district almost equal in population.
■ Minimize the splitting of counties, municipalities and townships, with no county split more than once.
■ Districts are geographically contiguous and compact.
We encourage citizens to support not only the efforts to get the redistricting measure on the ballot but to vote for it once they're in the voting booth. If we want to start chipping away at the problems of our nation, fair legislative districts is a fantastic place to start. We will be at the June 17 Farmers Market with petitions. Come by and talk to us.
President, League of Women Voters of Hudson