Vote ‘Yes’ On Ohio Issue 1

Gerrymandering — the process of setting boundaries for offices such as members of Congress and state legislators in order to benefit one’s own political party — is something like the weather. Everyone talks about making it a less partisan process, but no one ever seems to do anything honest about it.

That is because the political party in control of state government has the power to write political district rules, of course. Why would members of that party not put gerrymandering to use to benefit their organization?

With the 2020 Census coming up, it is time again for Ohioans to think about how congressional district boundaries will be drawn after new population figures are released. And surprise, surprise, Republicans who control the Statehouse have partnered with Democrats to come up with a plan to reduce, perhaps even eliminate, gerrymandering.

For it to happen, voters will have to approve Issue 1 on the Ohio primary election ballot.

Under the current system, the party in control of the General Assembly gets to draw congressional district maps however its leaders please.

If Issue 1 is approved, that would change. Legislators of the majority party would retain the right to prepare a congressional district map.

But for it to be implemented, it would have to be approved by 60 percent majorities in both the state Senate and House of Representatives. The kicker is that the map would be rejected unless half the minority party members in both houses agree to it.

If that cannot be accomplished, another district map would be prepared. Even then, at least one-third of minority party lawmakers would have to approve it. If the full General Assembly approves by less than a 60-percent vote, the new districts would remain in place for only four years, not until after the next census. Then, it would be back to the drawing board.

Is Issue 1 a foolproof means of preventing gerrymandering? Of course not. There is no such thing.

But it is a revolutionary, honest, meaningful step in that direction. As such, voters ought to applaud it — and vote “yes” for it.

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