The Ohio electorate will have the opportunity to pass a proposed amendment to the Ohio Constitution that would create a new format for redistricting state elections following the 2020 census. The effect of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent redistricting decision on Ohio law, however, is not yet clear, according to experts in the field. Ohio’s proposed amendment, which will appear on the November ballot as Issue 1, was passed by a bipartisan Ohio legislature in December 2014 as HJR 12, led by two outgoing legislators– Democrat Vernon Sykes and Republican Matthew Huffman.
Articles about voting issues in Ohio.
Lawmakers who think it’s time to end Ohio’s hyper-partisan process for drawing congressional districts aren’t giving up the fight. As Ohio voters prepare to vote this fall on changing how Ohio draws its legislative districts, a bipartisan pair of senators is again pushing to also change congressional redistricting. Sens. Frank LaRose, R-Copley, and Tom Sawyer, D-Akron, introduced a resolution on Wednesday that would give a bipartisan commission the authority to draw congressional lines, instead of the current process in which the House and Senate draw the districts to benefit the majority political party.
Ohio Republicans spent more than half a million dollars on a successful bid to keep Libertarian Party gubernatorial* candidate Charlie Earl off the state ballot last year. The GOP initially balked at the accusation that they had engaged in any dirty dealings to thwart Earl’s candidacy. Then, in a federal lawsuit filed by the Libertarian Party of Ohio (LPO), District Judge Michael H. Watson found that it was “obvious” that “operatives or supporters of the Ohio Republican Party” had indeed hired a “dupe” to bring about Earl’s electoral demise. Unfortunately, the dupe—Gregory Felsoci, an LPO member who filed a formal complaint with the secretary of state’s office challenging signatures the party collected—did have a point, the judge decided: Earl’s petition circulators had not disclosed that they were being paid by the LPO.
A recent court filing showed the Ohio Republican Party’s legal bills in the challenge to 2014 Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Charlie Earl are almost $600,000 — nearly double the amount previously disclosed. The additional spending was documented as part of the Libertarian party’s lawsuit against Secretary of State Jon Husted. It challenges Husted’s decision to disqualify Earl.
Ohio: Redistricting reform campaign begins, preaching fairness for partisan process | Cleveland Plain Dealer
The campaign to change the way Ohio draws its Statehouse districts will spend the next four months persuading voters to say “yes” to Issue 1 on the November ballot. Fair Districts for Ohio, which kicked off its campaign Wednesday, will be chaired by the former state representatives who led the charge last year to revise the legislative redistricting process. Their plan, which passed the General Assembly with bipartisan support, requires voter approval and will appear on the November ballot as Issue 1. The plan does not change how congressional districts are drawn.
Ohio: U.S. Supreme Court ruling clears the way for Ohio congressional redistricting reform | Cleveland Plain Dealer
Monday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of Arizona’s redistricting commission means Ohio could act quickly to reform its process for drawing congressional district maps. Late last year, Ohio lawmakers passed revisions to the state legislative redistricting process with large bipartisan support in both chambers. Ohio Republicans then cited the Arizona case as the main reason for not also reforming the congressional redistricting process. Despite Monday’s decision, Ohio voters likely won’t vote on a congressional plan in November, when they will be asked to approve the revised state legislative redistricting process. Lawmakers plan to recess for the summer this week and don’t plan to return before the August deadline to put an issue on the November ballot.
Ohio: Small number of possible voter fraud cases referred to county prosecutors | Cleveland Plain Dealer
The Ohio secretary of state’s office referred 14 people who might have committed voter fraud during 2014 elections to county prosecutors for additional investigation or prosecution. A cross-match system found two individuals appeared to have cast a ballot in Ohio and other states, according to the secretary of state’s office. The other 12 individuals were discovered by county boards reviewing the 2014 gubernatorial election. Individuals were referred to prosecutors in Summit, Clermont, Delaware, Hamilton, Warren, and Meigs counties.
Ohio: Election officials reject 98 percent of signatures on petitions to recall Cleveland Mayor | Cleveland Plain Dealer
An already long-shot effort to recall Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson was dealt a major blow on Wednesday after elections officials rejected more than 98 percent of the 12,887 signatures submitted by the group. Elections officials certified as valid only 260 signatures submitted by recall organizers on Saturday, the County Board of Elections said in a news release. The group needed 12,025 valid signatures from city residents who voted in the November 2013 election to force a recall election. The recall group, which calls itself the Cleveland: A Return to Excellence Committee, now has 20 days to attempt to collect the 11,765 more valid signatures. If the group fails a second time, it must start its effort over from the beginning.
While its fate remains murky in the Ohio House of Representatives, most Ohioans could register to vote online under a bill passed on Wednesday by a bipartisan 31-1 vote in the Senate. “This is a big step forward for the state of Ohio, the voters of Ohio and Ohio elections officials,” said Sen. Frank LaRose, R-Fairlawn, sponsor of the bill. “This is a large and important modernization to Ohio’s elections law.” Meanwhile, the House passed a proposed constitutional amendment that seeks to block groups such as ResponsibleOhio from trying to get economic monopolies built into the Constitution. A Senate vote could come next week.
Backers of a bill that would let Ohioans register to vote online are telling a legislative panel that it would allow for more accurate voter rolls in the swing state. The bill would direct Ohio’s elections chief to create a secure, online registration process for voters. Applicants would need to provide an Ohio driver’s license or state ID card number. Currently, Ohio voters can update their addresses online.