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What Ohio’s ‘Citizens Not Politicians’ Redistricting Amendment Would Do

The state constitutional amendment would establish an independent commission comprised of Ohio citizens to draw fair congressional and legislative district maps.

Published: April 25, 2024

The Citizens Not Politicians campaign in Ohio seeks to pass a constitutional amendment that would completely overhaul the state’s redistricting process. It would replace the current politician-controlled system with one that centers citizen involvement and accountability in drawing Ohio’s congressional and legislative maps. For this amendment to become law, the campaign must gather over 413,000 valid signatures and Ohio voters must then approve the measure.

The proposed amendment would principally do four things:

Empower Ohioans to draw district maps

A citizens’ redistricting commission would replace the politicians who have been responsible for gerrymandering Ohio for decades. The 15-member commission would consist of a fair-minded and representative cross section of Ohioans that fully reflects the political, geographic, and demographic diversity of the state. 

5 Republicans, 5 Democrats, 5 independents

Current politicians, political party officials, candidates, or anyone who served in or ran for office in the prior six years would be prohibited from serving on the commission, as would the employees, contractors, or immediate family members of disqualified individuals. 

To make sure the best candidates are chosen, a bipartisan panel of retired Ohio judges would oversee the selection process and ensure commissioners do not have conflicts of interest, are compromise-oriented and fair-minded, and possess skills and experiences necessary for success.

Promote transparency and public accountability

Once seated, commissioners would look to the public to guide redistricting decisions through hearings and comment submissions so the maps give all Ohio communities fair representation.

5 regional hearings across the state before the map drawing starts in order to gather input on how to best preserve communities for redistricting. 5 regional hearings after draft maps have been drawn to get feedback on the initial attempts. Additional hearings as needed as new iterations are produced ahead of unveiling final maps.

All data relevant to map drawing would be made publicly available, and all hearings would be live streamed to encourage broad public involvement. The commission would also release a report explaining its decisions once final maps have been chosen.

Produce fair and impartial district maps

Passing maps would require the affirmative vote of nine commissioners and must include the support of at least two Republicans, two Democrats, and two independents. All maps would need to adhere to clear, prioritized criteria so that districts comply with federal requirements (including the Voting Rights Act), center community interests, and reflect the election preferences of Ohio voters. 

Districts must comply with federal law, correspond to the political preferences of Ohio voters, provide equal electoral opportunities for voters of color, and preserve communities that have strong bonds and share common representational needs

Establish a system of checks and balances

The Citizens Not Politicians Amendment creates checks and balances at every phase of the process and incentivizes compromise and collaboration among commissioners. These safeguards would provide critical assurance that rogue actors cannot infiltrate or derail the commission’s work. To ensure that redistricting is done in the public interest and that gerrymandering in Ohio is a thing of the past, the measure includes the following safeguards:

The selection of commissioners would be bipartisan and subject to public oversight The legal and mapping experts would be screened for conflicts of interest Tri-partisan support for commission decisions All map drawing input done in public with risk of expulsion for commissioners who engage in backroom conversations Provisions for commission deadlock encourage compromise and collaboration Clearly defined judicial review process