Feed on

The U.S. Supreme Court found that nonpartisan citizen commissions may draw lines for Congressional districts, instead of state legislatures.  See Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Indep. Redistricting Comm’n, No. 13-1314 (U.S. June 29, 2015).  Now Ohio can move forward with H.J.R. 2, a proposal to amend the Ohio Constitution to make the redistricting process more nonpartisan.  HJR 2 was introduced, but has not been yet approved by the Ohio House.  The Ohio Legislature recesses this week for the summer, so will not get to this issue until they return.  As the legislature will not act before the August deadline, the issue will not appear on the ballot this November.  See Cleveland.com, U.S. Supreme Court ruling clears the way for Ohio congressional redistricting reform.

Ohio Constitution Article XI, Section 1 currently states:

“The governor, auditor of state, secretary of state, one person chosen by the speaker of the house of representatives and the leader in the senate of the political party of which the speaker is a member, and one person chosen by the legislative leaders in the two houses of the major political party of which the speaker is not a member shall be the persons responsible for the apportionment of this state for members of the general assembly.

Such persons, or a majority of their number, shall meet and establish in the manner prescribed in this Article the boundaries for each of ninety-nine house of representatives districts and thirty-three senate districts. … ”

Thus, the party in power will have more members on the redistricting panel, and will be able to control redistricting by a majority vote.  According to a Cleveland.com article, this has resulted in the Republicans in power drawing districts favoring Republican congressional candidates.

HJR 2 keeps the current makeup of the commission (governor, auditor and secretary of state plus one member appointed by the Speaker of the House, one appointed by the President of the Senate, and two members appointed by minority leaders in each body), but a simple majority vote would not suffice.  The affirmative vote of four members of the commission, including at least two members of the commission who represent each of the two largest political parties represented in the general assembly, are required to adopt any congressional district plan. For more details on HJR 2, see our prior post, New Congressional Redistricting Amendment Proposed.

Leave a Reply