Why I am voting NO on Ohio Issue One, 2018
When we open up our Ohio Constitution, we have to get it right
I have been going around and around on this issue. It is an Ohio Constitutional Amendment that changes the way we draw our Congressional lines and is supposed to eliminate gerrymandering. It is supported by the Ohio Republican Party and Ohio Democratic Party. That is when I became suspicious. The Democrats on Twitter are a buzz with this issue. They are going door to door and there are political signs for it up in my town. It worries me, because it is giving away an advantage that Republicans currently have and that doesn’t make any sense.
Ohio lawmakers came up with a new, more bipartisan way to draw lines for congressional districts. There are several steps to ensure the party with fewer members in the state Legislature – currently the Democrats – have a say.
- Step 1: Ohio lawmakers would draw the lines for Ohio’s 16 (or maybe 15 if the state loses one after the census) congressional districts. If 60 percent of lawmakers in each chamber, including half of the minority party, approve the map then it will last for 10 years.
- Step 2: If lawmakers can’t agree, a seven-member commission would make a map. That commission includes the governor, auditor, secretary of state and four lawmakers – two from each of the major political parties. Any plan would need approval from four of the seven members, including two votes from the minority party, to last 10 years.
- Step 3: If the commission can’t agree, the lawmakers would have another chance to make a map. At that point, legislators would need only one-third of lawmakers from the minority party to agree with the plan for it to last 10 years.
- Step 4: If that doesn’t work, the party with more members can draw the map without input from the minority members. However, they need to follow some strict rules, and the map would last for only four years.
Then I read the following post from State Rep Nino Vitale. He nails it, so I will repost his arguments here for your consideration.
This creates a situation where districts will likely be drawn every 4 years. One of the reasons we do a census every 10 years is so that we can assess the population and decide how the representation will be drawn. Under this proposal, we have no new population data, so the drawing is done, not on facts, but on the will of a few politicians. I don’t trust them to do the right thing. It has worked using real data from the census for many years. Using data is a non-partisan way to determine how the lines should be drawn.
“Not later than September 30 of a year ending in the numeral one, the General Assembly must pass a congressional district plan in the form of a bill by the affirmative vote of 60% of the members of each house, including the affirmative vote of at least ½ of the members of the minority party in each house.”
These requirements make it nearly impossible for a proposal to pass the General Assembly. If one party suspects that the plan favors one party over another, the bill will never pass and the parties will never agree, almost guaranteeing that the plan with go to the unelected commission. This is the entire plan. Get it in the hands of a select few that will do what the swamp politicians want. That’s not good representative government.
The Ohio Redistricting Commission, if it met tomorrow, would consist of: the Governor, Auditor, Secretary of State, one person appointed by the Speaker, one appointed by the House minority leader, one appointed by the Senate President, and one appointed by the Senate minority leader. They would make all the decisions. People fear tyranny of the majority, what about tyranny of the minority!
Currently, we have a speaker that has resigned in disgrace over an FBI investigation; we have one donor that has donated millions to chairmen and other reps in the Ohio House so she has control over everything and she may be under FBI investigation as well. We have a house minority leader that is now accused of blocking child abuse cases and abusing his power. And finally, a governor who was voted in by one party to represent our values and is now, representing the other party in much that he does. Do you really trust these people to make these decisions?
Because of the way they have written the dates, this would have to pass the Ohio House as what is called an “Emergency Clause,” which means an even bigger hurdle than 60%, guaranteeing this will have to go to this small body to make all the decisions. I know this is ‘in the weeds’ for some but it’s a procedural clause they put in to ensure that only a small few have control of the process and that it never is voted on by the people.
Governor Kasich, Arnold Schwarzenegger and others who have very concerning records in public office and all say this is great and drink schnapps to toast the plan. Really? I’m sorry but, as a conservative, freedom loving Ohioan, I don’t trust their judgment on these matters. Their swamp endorsement tells me that this is a bad deal.
There is too much wrong with this issue, too many variables that could go wrong. That is why I am voting no. This is an Ohio Constitutional Amendment. If we put this in, it needs to be right.