State Issue 1 is good for Republicans.
It’s also good for Democrats.
But most of all, it’s good for Ohio.
You don’t get to say such a thing very often nowadays — especially about redistricting plans. But it is possible today thanks to a historic compromise pulled off by a bipartisan group led by Republican state Sen. Matt Huffman of Lima and Democrat Vernon Sykes, of Summit County.
The passage of State Issue 1 in the May 8 election would make Ohio the first state to require a certain level of support from the two major parties to approve a congressional redistricting plan in the state legislature.
“We are showing across the nation, that here at least in Ohio, we still know what it means to compromise, to work across the aisle, to have adult conversations and actually do something for the citizens of our state,” said House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger.
The proposed Constitutional Amendment would end the partisan process for drawing congressional districts, and replace it with one whose goals are promoting bipartisanship, keeping local communities together, and having district boundaries that are more compact.
It also ensures a transparent process by requiring public hearings and allowing public submission of proposed plans.
Ironically, State Issue 1 comes at a time when the U.S. Supreme Court is also tackling the issue of gerrymandering. Beneath the constitutional questions it will grapple with is the matter of what an ideal district should be. Ought districts be determined in order to allow people to live in areas where majority of the population supports the same candidates, or should they be drawn to force the creation of competitive races?
Ohioans will look at an Issue 1 that clearly says the state legislature should not be in the business of redrawing district boundaries in order to ensure their opponents would lose seats in the next election cycle.
Those who agree should vote in favor of Issue 1 on May 8.