The American Civil Liberties Union is taking a pass on the effort to reform how Ohio’s congressional districts are drawn, announcing Monday it will neither endorse nor oppose Issue 1 on the May 8 ballot. Why? The proposed reform falls short of doing enough to rid Ohio of gerrymandering, according to the group’s announcement on the eve of the start of early voting. “Issue 1 simply does not go far enough to reform the redistricting process in Ohio,” Mike Brickner, senior policy director at the ACLU of Ohio, said in its news release. “While there are some benefits to Issue 1, it still allows for partisan gerrymandering. We need a better process – with better rules – to ensure Ohio voters are appropriately represented in congressional elections.” The proposal has wide bipartisan support.
The Ohio legislature – with a 31-0 vote in the Senate and a 83-10 vote in the House – placed Issue 1 on the May ballot to amend Ohio’s constitution. The amendment would establish rules where none exist now to limit how districts are drawn, starting in 2021.
The new rules would require that districts be compact, reduce how often counties could be split into multiple districts and increase the say of the minority party during the map-drawing process.