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About Voters First and Issue 2

About Voters First and Issue 2

When it comes to redistricting,
it's not a fair fight.
Special Interests have all the power.
Let's take it back.

Our political system is broken. Extreme partisan politicians and special interests repeatedly rig the system for their own benefit. Issue 2 would make our system accountable, fair and impartial so that no political party or special interest can rig the system to their own advantage.

A Broken System = Unaccountable Politicians

Every ten years, Ohio goes through a process known as “redistricting” in which the boundary lines for Statehouse and Congressional districts are re-drawn. Instead of a fair system - one in which citizens have input and the lines are drawn so that all candidates have a fair shot to compete for your vote — the politicians and special interest lobbyists created a system that puts them first, and voters last.

When Republicans are in charge, they manipulate the lines to make it nearly impossible for Democratic or Independent candidates to compete; when Democrats are in charge they do the exact same thing. As a result, we end up with extreme politicians in office who are more concerned with protecting their own perks and benefits than working to find solutions to move our state and country forward. Candidates running for the right reasons never have a fair shot, because special interests and their lobbyists have corrupted the process.

Issue 2 = A Step in the Right Direction

The Voters First Constitutional Amendment to reform redistricting in Ohio is now on the ballot as Issue 2, thanks to more than 300,000 valid signatures filed with the Ohio Secretary of State’s office.

The last time Ohio re-drew district lines, a coalition supported by over 25 nonpartisan organizations in Ohio allowed private citizens to create districts using nonpartisan redistricting principles. Citizens submitted 57 different plans that were all deemed “more fair” than the plan created and adopted by the politicians. Those plans weren’t chosen because the party in power refused to give up its unfair advantage. It’s up to us to reclaim our democracy.

It’s not hard to create a fair system. Issue 2 is a step in the right direction. The constitutional amendment would create a 12-member independent citizens commission to draw legislative district lines after each 10-year census. Four Republicans, four Democrats and four non-affiliated voters would serve, requiring a seven-person majority for any vote.

Voting Yes on Issue 2 would end decades of single-party design of legislative districts. Republicans have had control recently, designing districts to ensure they will have majority control of the Ohio General Assembly. But Democrats did similar things when they had control in the past.

“Issue 2 is common-sense reform that is a step in the right direction toward fixing a broken system. It will make how we draw district lines more accountable, transparent and balanced,” said OEA President Patricia Frost-Brooks. “Voting Yes on Issue 2 is so important because it ensures that neither party can unfairly dominate state politics, or rig the system to their own advantage. That will send a message to all politicians that Ohio is tired of politics as usual. We want to put an end to the gridlock and the back-room deals that are plaguing our government.”

The new process in a nutshell

  • Politicians will no longer be able to draw their districts. Instead an Ohio Citizens Redistricting Commission, consisting of 12 qualified people, will determine our districts. Politicians, lobbyists, large campaign contributors, and other political insiders will not be permitted on the commission or to choose who is.
  • The Commission will be nonpartisan with four Republicans, four Democrats, and four voters not affiliated with either party. New districts will require the approval of 7 of the 12 commission members. Districts can not be created to favor or disfavor a political party, incumbent, or potential candidate.
  • No more backroom deals! All commission meetings and records, including proposed plans must be public. The commission must consider plans submitted by the public and must provide the public with an opportunity to review and comment on proposed plans.
  • Requires fair and objective redistricting practices. The commission will be required to adopt the plan which complies with all legal requirements, including the Voting Rights Act, and which best meets the following nonpartisan criteria:
    • Creates compact districts.
    • Minimizes splits of counties, municipalities, townships, and wards.
    • Maximizes the number of politically balanced districts.
    • Balances the number of districts which favor each political party to reflect the preferences of Ohio voters.

Click here to view the summary of the ballot language

 

Vote Yes on Issue 2.
Because when elections are fair, the people win.

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