Ohio congressional redistricting reform approved as Issue 1 on May ballot

It’s official — Ohioans will vote May 8 to change how the state draws congressional districts to a process supporters say will be more fair, transparent and bipartisan.

The General Assembly’s proposed constitutional amendment will be Issue 1, the only statewide issue on the May primary election ballot.

The Ohio Ballot Board, a bipartisan panel led by the secretary of state, met Tuesday and approved a ballot summary and arguments for and against Issue 1.

The argument for Issue 1 was drafted by a bipartisan group of legislators who helped craft the amendment. It touts the amendment’s limits on splitting counties and communities, requirement for minority party support at each step of the process and use of “anti-gerrymandering criteria.”

The General Assembly did not assign anyone to write an argument against the measure, so Secretary of State Jon Husted’s office did so. The con argument states the current process has served Ohio well for many years and voters can hold legislators making maps accountable by voting them out of office.

The amendment needs a simple majority of votes in May to become part of the Ohio Constitution. The proposed changes would take effect for the next redistricting process in 2021, following the 2020 census.

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