Ohio's Congressional Redistrict Debate Gets Heated

Jan 30, 2018

Senate committee battles over Republican redistricting plan.
Credit JO INGLES / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The debate over how to draw Ohio’s Congressional districts continues at the Statehouse as lawmakers and leaders of a coalition of citizens groups talk behind closed doors. The GOP lawmakers want to put their redistricting plan, which lacks any Democratic support, on the May ballot. And if they do, the coalition, which wants to put its own issue before voters this fall, is promising a fight. 

Sen. Matt Huffman says he’s made changes to the plan supported by GOP lawmakers that would still leave legislators, not an outside board, in charge of the map-drawing process. Lawmakers need to pass it by Feb. 7 to make the May ballot. Huffman says it’s May or never because he doesn’t want two competing plans on the fall ballot.

“I think it’s difficult for the public to digest.’

Huffman says he wants a bipartisan agreement, and both sides are still talking. Still, Catherine Turcer with Common Cause Ohio says there is a non-negotiable sticking point.

“His proposal does not have a rule prohibiting gerrymandering.”

Absent that, Turcer says the citizens group will continue to gather more than 300,000 signatures to put their plan before voters in November.