Ending gerrymandering? Ohio redistricting reform supporters outline problem and proposal in panel

Some of the leaders of a campaign to reform redistricting in Ohio say the process of drawing districts may be complicated, but making necessary changes to end gerrymandering isn’t: “Political insiders have no business being in the process.”

In a Monday panel discussion on Ohio State University’s campus, retired Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, League of Women Voters of Ohio Director Jen Miller, political science professor Ange-Marie Hancock, law professor Steven Huefner, and the Brennan Center Democracy Program’s Yurij Rudensky discussed the impact of gerrymandering on political power, and why a third try at redistricting reform needs to be on the public’s radar if it hits the ballots in November.

The panel members urged support for an initiative created by the coalition Citizens Not Politicians, in conjunction with O’Connor and what she calls “a group of brainiacs,” who developed the proposed ballot measure to undo the “failings” of voter-approved reforms made in 2015 and 2018 through separate constitutional amendments.

“These two amendments were sold as the greatest thing since chocolate milk and sliced bread,” O’Connor said. “I mean, they just thought this was going to be the answer. It was not.”

The drafters had perhaps known the amendments would not go as far as voters hoped, O’Connor posited.

“As a result, there’s language in (the previous amendments) that limits the power of the people and enhances the power of the legislature,” according to the retired chief justice.

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