Fair Districts February All Volunteer Huddle Follow Up

Thanks to all who attended our February All Volunteer Huddle. For those who missed it, here are slides and a recording. The slides have additional live links, but below you can see a summary of the topics we covered. 

(Unfortunately, we had another hacking incident. It’s upsetting. We will be increasing our security and sending a new link for each Huddle meeting.) 

HJR1 update 

Although a large coalition (including Fair Districts) successfully pushed back against HJR6 in December, Rep Brian Stewart introduced a new proposal to make it harder to pass ballot initiatives (now “HJR1”) and this version is even worse. The bill will NOT be on the ballot in May, but we fear it could end up on the November Ballot. We are pushing back with messaging that reiterates that the bill is “Unfair, Undemocratic, unpopular, and unnecessary.” Here are two op-eds and some research on the topic:

GOP lawsuit at SCOTUS 

Back in October, Senate President Matt Huffman filed a petition with SCOTUS claiming the Ohio Supreme Court overstepped its bounds when striking down Ohio’s redrawn Congressional map. LWV/ACLU countered (Huffman v. Neiman) in December, 2022. On February 17, 2023 SCOTUS may say whether it plans to hear or dismiss the case. 

Meanwhile, the recently flipped North Carolina Supreme Court may reopen the case that led to Moore v Harper—which in turn could lead to SCOTUS dropping the case altogether. While it is too early to say what will happen, these cases are all connected and will impact each other one way or another. Stay tuned! 

Maps from Andrew Green, Ohio PoliticsGuru

Our current legislative maps have been ruled unconstitutional and will have to be redrawn. We are hoping many of our community mappers will get involved again. Andrew Green, a citizen-mapmaker you may know as @OPoliticsguru on Twitter, gave a detailed presentation of his Ohio House and Ohio Senate maps. (See the presentation slides for additional info.) His maps have been widely praised and achieve high levels of proportionality and compactness while doing an amazing job of keeping communities together. Please take a look and give Andrew your comments at amg241@case.edu

Next steps for Fair Districts

Many of us are eager to get to work on a new ballot initiative to implement an independent redistricting commission in Ohio similar to the kinds in states such as Michigan and California. Catherine Turcer from Common Cause Ohio discussed the kinds of in depth work that needs to be done before we get started, including raising money, crafting ballot language (with public input), and building a strong and unified coalition. In addition, we would need to make sure that the language we use fits with whatever decision comes down in Moore v Harper. 

While the preparation work is going on, we will begin to build our capacity and outreach so that more Ohioans support meaningful redistricting reform. That will include such things as rebooting the Speakers Bureau, social media outreach and education campaigns, gathering public input, and fundraising. Look out for details on these efforts at future Huddle meetings. 

Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor 

Since the first opinion striking down a gerrymandered map, Chief Justice O’Connor has spoken up in favor of a truly independent redistricting commission. Since her retirement in December she has been talking about heading up an effort to change Ohio’s redistricting rules. Here is a video of comments she made at a recent Columbus Metropolitan Club meeting. We are all working towards the same goal and certainly aim to be working together on a single ballot initiative.  

Householder trial update

Common Cause Ohio has been working hard to shed light on the Householder HB 6 trial and the reforms we need to make sure these kinds of scandals cannot keep happening over and over in Ohio. Here are links to some of the resources we’ve put together – and a link to sign up for trial updates!  

We look forward to seeing everyone at our next Huddle, March 8 at 6pm. We will send a link and further instructions closer to the time. 

Thank you for all you do and for staying in the fight for Fair Districts!