Bipartisan Plan Is Necessary

Drawing new congressional and legislative districts, as required every 10 years, is controversial in many states. Accusations of gerrymandering are common. So is concern among voters that their wishes have not been considered by state officials.

Many Ohioans are well aware of the need to improve the redistricting process in the Buckeye State. Yet last week, voters rejected a ballot measure, Issue 2, that was aimed at doing just that.

But after becoming educated about Issue 2, voters who rejected it did so not because they disagreed with its goal but because of the process it prescribed.

Issue 2 would have inaugurated a complex process that might have resulted in a worse outcome than the system now used for redistricting. Voters were wise to say no to it. That leaves Ohio back to the proverbial “square one” on redistricting reform.

Fortunately, legislative and congressional district boundaries will not have to be redrawn again until 2020. That leaves plenty of time for state leaders – with the advice and consent of Ohio residents – to devise a new system.

Legislators and Gov. John Kasich’s administration should begin work on proposals for a new resdistricting system soon.

A critical concern about the process of doing that involves bipartisanship. Kasich is a Republican. Secretary of State Jon Husted is a Republican. The General Assembly is controlled by Republicans.

Democrat leaders can be pardoned, then, if they view the process with suspicion. That makes it important that Republican leaders do all in their power to ensure changing the redistricting system is a bipartisan effort. Doing otherwise would set any plan for change up for failure.