Liberal Groups Want New Redistricting Process
Following Republican victories in 2010, new Ohio General Assembly and Congressional maps were drawn by Republican officeholders and legislators. In response, labor unions and other left-wing groups have joined a campaign to change how General Assembly districts are drawn, proposing a commission similar to the one manipulated by California Democrats in 2011.
“Voters First Ohio,” led by the League of Women Voters of Ohio, has drafted an amendment to the state constitution which would replace the current process whereby an Apportionment Board of elected officials draws districts for the state legislature after each Census.
Voters First relies on the expertise of Ohio State University professor Richard Gunther, who in December 2011 described a bipartisan compromise version of the Congressional map as “extremely unfair to the citizens of Ohio,” and Ohio State University professor Daniel Tokaji, who said the map was “the worst example of elected officials serving their own craven partisan interests of anywhere in the country.”
Both Prof. Gunther and Prof. Tokaji are registered Democrats. Gunther has donated $950 to Ohio Democrats and liberal causes in recent years, while also giving $1,000 to Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and $200 to Sen. John Kerry (D-MA). In 2006 Tokaji contributed $350 to Democrat Subodh Chandra’s attorney general campaign.
A complete list of Voters First partners is unavailable, but the initiative is endorsed by a number of powerful far-left groups including ProgressOhio, the Ohio Education Association (OEA), Common Cause, and AFL-CIO. ProgressOhio and OEA have vigorously promoted the petition drive via their websites, Facebook pages, and Twitter feeds.
For additional information about Ohio’s redistricting process and changes proposed by the legislature in recent years, see Monday’s Media Trackers Ohio background piece.