Ohio Healthcare Providers Unite to Support Constitutional Amendment Ending Gerrymandering

A nonpartisan group of over 100 healthcare providers, including physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals from across Ohio, has launched Ohio Health Advocates for Democracy. In an open letter published online today, they endorsed the Citizens Not Politicians Amendment to end gerrymandering and restore representative government in Ohio.

“As healthcare providers, we’ve witnessed firsthand how crucial responsive governance is,” said Dr. Bryan Hambley, a blood cancer physician at The University of Cincinnatiand leader of the group. “Gerrymandering not only compromises the health of our democracy but ultimately the health and well-being of Ohioans by preventing meaningful, evidenced-based health policy in the state. It’s imperative we support the Citizens Not Politicians Amendment to ensure our government truly represents the people it serves.”

The letter emphasizes the negative impacts of gerrymandering on Ohio’s democracy, citing a grade of “D” for fairness from the nonpartisan Princeton Gerrymandering Project. The healthcare group argues that more representative government, enabled by ending gerrymandering, will lead to better public policies that support the overall health of Ohioans.

The proposed amendment would transfer the power of redistricting from politicians to an independent commission composed of Independents, Democrats, and Republicans. The commission would also exclude politicians, party officials, and lobbyists, aiming to create fair districts without preferential treatment to any political party or politician.

“Independent commissions in states like Michigan and Virginia have demonstrated that fair districts foster a competitive political environment where elected officials are held accountable and must respond to their constituents,” the letter reads. “As temperatures rise in our politics, we need a bipartisan effort of cooler heads to give Ohio back its representative democracy.”

This is just the latest endorsement for the amendment. Earlier this month, the group announced the support of nearly 100 organizations, businesses, and thought leaders across Ohio for a constitutional amendment. The diverse coalition supporting the historic initiative includes Republicans, Independents, and Democrats and is made up of business groups, nonpartisan policy groups, labor unions, civil rights organizations, and faith-based organizations representing hundreds of thousands of Ohioans across the political spectrum. In January, a nonpartisan group of 67 business leaders called Leadership Now released an open letter endorsing the amendment.    

The proposed Citizens Not Politicians Amendment would replace the current process run entirely by politicians with a new process run by Ohio citizens.

Gerrymandering is the practice by which politicians draw political boundaries to give themselves an unfair advantage, undermining fair representation and leading to political stagnation and ineffective policy. Ohio is recognized as one of the most gerrymandered states in the nation.

Nationally, Ohio is recognized as one of the worst states for gerrymandering, undermining proportional representation and leading to political stagnation and ineffective policy.

More than 9 million Ohioans, or 77% of the state population, live in districts where one party has a severe advantage in the 2024 Ohio House of Representatives elections, according to an analysis by the Brennan Center for Justice at the NYU School of Law

In addition, Ohio’s partisan map-drawing process meant that nearly half of the 99-member Ohio House lacked a competitive primary contest to nominate the likely winners for the upcoming general election, the Brennan analysis found.

The nonpartisan group Citizens Not Politicians has volunteers across Ohio collecting signatures. They must collect more than 413,000 valid signatures by July 3 to qualify for the November ballot.

The Citizens Not PoliticiansAmendment will:

  • Create the 15-member Ohio Citizens Redistricting Commission made up of Republican, Democratic and independent citizens who broadly represent the different geographic areas and demographics of the state.
  • Ban current or former politicians, political party officials, and lobbyists from sitting on the commission.
  • Require fair and impartial districts by making it unconstitutional to draw voting districts that discriminate against or favor any political party or individual politician.
  • Require the commission to operate under an open and independent process.

Seven other states have similar independent citizen redistricting commissions: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Michigan, Montana, and Washington. 

If approved, the new commission could draw maps that could be in place as early as the 2026 elections.