COLUMBUS—Following Senate Session today, Sam Gresham of Common Cause Ohio and Ann Henkener of the League of Women Voters of Ohio will testify before the Ohio House Policy and Legislative Oversight Committee about proposed redistricting reform proposals House Joint Resolutions 11 and 12. These two advocates will also testify about Senate Joint Resolution 1, which surprisingly is being revisited in the Ohio Senate State Government and Reform Committee despite referral out of the committee in June 2013. Read Gresham's testimony on HJR 11 and HJR 12.
Joint Statement from Common Cause Ohio and the League of Women Voters of Ohio:
HJR 11 and 12 (Huffman – R) provide minor changes in our current process of redistricting and unfortunately may take the place of meaningful reform. Our current “winner take all” “majority party rule” system is not producing bi-partisan maps that are good for voters. They are designed to artificially inflate the power of the majority party. These bills add some window dressing by putting a bi-partisan gloss on the process, but in the final analysis, the majority party can once again wield its gerrymandering pen and draw safe seats that artificially favor the majority party. This is no improvement on the current system – it is the current system.
The sponsor of the bill says the system has the potential of creating “chaos” and that is the incentive to develop a bi-partisan plan. Do voters really want a system that by its very nature is designed to create chaos? Why don’t we ask our elected official to do their job and propose a bi-partisan system that reflects the values of Ohio voters?
In 2012, with a bi-partisan vote, the Senate passed a resolution sponsored by Sens. LaRose and Sawyer. That bill provides a good starting place for bi-partisan reform. We need a system that reflects voters’ preferences not “majority party rule.”
Ann Henkener, advocacy director for the League of Women Voters of Ohio describes here concerns about the proposed reforms this way, “We need a system that reflects voters’ preferences not ‘majority party rule.’ The proposals recently introduced aren’t an improvement on the current system, they are the current system with an incentive mechanism designed to fail.”
Echoing the same concerns, Sam Gresham, chair of Common Cause Ohio states, “we don’t simply need to change the rules for map-drawing, we need a fairer system for voters. It would be much simpler to identify specific criteria for map-makers that encourages fair representation, competitiveness and compactness than use a complicated mechanism that is only the most naïve would believe encourages more bipartisan map-making.”
Issues: Voting and Elections