Common Cause supporting common sense reforms for Ohio

Common Cause, the national non-partisan citizens lobby, announced its support Wednesday for three common sense reforms that will be on the ballot in Ohio in November, provided that supporters collect the required 450,000 signatures by Aug. 1.

“Enacting these constitutional amendments regarding campaign contribution limits, redistricting and non-partisan election administration would go a long way towards improving the culture of political corruption that has recently been exposed in the Buckeye State,” Common Cause President Chellie Pingree said. “The $10,000 campaign contributions that Ohio politicians may now accept, the partisan gerrymandering of legislative and Congressional districts by self-interested politicians and elections administered by operatives beholden to the political parties instead of the voters are just a few factors that have left citizens disillusioned, disgusted and disenfranchised.”

The amendments would do the following:

” Limit campaign contributions to $2,000 for statewide candidates and $1,000 for legislative candidates, ban corporate contributions and require full disclosure of contributions,

” Create a truly Independent Redistricting Commission, preventing politicians from creating their own legislative districts, preventing redistricting decisions from being made behind closed doors without input from citizens and requiring the creation of competitive legislative and congressional districts.

” Establish an independent state elections board, removing partisan politicians from the administration of state elections and allowing Ohioans to vote by mail ensuring easy and equal access to elections.

Common Cause’s support for the reforms comes in the wake of developments in the state, including that have allowed for the undue influence of big money in politics and disenfranchised voters. Namely, the Ohio General Assembly last year voted to increase the amount wealthy donors may give to their campaigns by 400%, allowing candidates to accept contributions of $10,000. The partisan gerrymandering of legislative and Congressional districts have allowed self-interested politicians to chose their voters, while tens of thousands of voters are left disenfranchised. Lastly, partisan politicians are administering elections in which they have a direct interest, while voters are left with insufficient access to the polls and unsure if election results are accurate.

Common Cause will be working over the next several weeks with Reform Ohio Now to collect enough signatures to ensure that Ohio voters will be able to consider in November whether they are the right reforms for the state.