COLUMBUS: Ohio voters on Tuesday rejected a proposal to change the process for redrawing state legislative and congressional maps.
State Issue 2 lost after a fight that pitted voter advocacy groups and unions against business interests and the Ohio Republican Party. Lawyers’ groups split on the issue.
The constitutional amendment would have created a 12-member citizen commission to redraw Ohio’s political districts every decade. It was prompted by discontent over the maps approved by the state Legislature in 2011.
Tuesday’s vote leaves U.S. House maps in the hands of the state Legislature, and legislative districts in the hands of the five-member Ohio Apportionment Board.
In conceding the race, proponents highlighted common ground identified during the campaign. They said all agree Ohio’s redistricting system is broken and sides should come together before 2022 to fix it.
Also Tuesday, Ohioans for the fifth time in 100 years rejected the chance to revisit the state’s Constitution.
Such a forum would have allowed debate on such issues as redistricting, term limits, casino gambling and gay marriage. Instead, voters rejected Issue 1 by strong margins in every county.
Under state law, the question of calling a constitutional convention must be presented to voters every 20 years. Voters in an era of renewed interest in constitutional issues were thought to perhaps have more interest in a gathering to revise the founding document.
The state’s governing document emerged from the state’s first constitutional convention in Chillicothe in 1802. It was revisited at conventions in 1851 and 1912.