Competing Congressional Redistricting Plans May Go To Ohio Ballot

Ohio's 9th Congressional District stretches along Lake Erie from Toledo to Cleveland. [Ohio Secretary of State]
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Hear interviews with backers of both proposals above.

A Republican state lawmaker says he hopes to reach a bipartisan deal on a proposal to change how Ohio draws Congressional district lines. But a backer of a separate voter initiative on the issue says his campaign isn’t yet convinced.

State Sen. Matt Huffman and a coalition of groups, including the NAACP and League of Women Voters, are pushing competing proposals to reform redistricting. Both could end up on the ballot this year in separate elections.

Huffman said he’s met this week with members of the voter coalition to discuss “things they would like to have in the plan if the General Assembly goes ahead here.”

Common Cause Ohio board member Samuel Gresham, a supporter of the voter initiative, said he wasn’t a part of those meetings but has been kept informed about them. He said a deal was possible, but wasn’t sure if it was probable.

“We’re going to try and work with them to see if we can work something out,” Gresham said. “And if we can’t work anything out, we’re not going to stop our initiative.”

Huffman’s plan requires the state legislature to draw a map with a supermajority of support in both houses, including one-third support from the minority party, in the year after a Census. If lawmakers can’t agree by a fall deadline that year, a bipartisan commission would draw the lines.

In contrast, the voter initiative proposal would leave the work entirely up to the redistricting commission.

“My goal here is to put this on the ballot with Democratic support probably by next week, if we're going to put it on the May ballot,” Huffman said in an interview Thursday.

Supporters of the voter initiative are gathering signatures to put their plan on the ballot in November.

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