Voters’ overwhelming support for state Issue 1 did not persuade the Ohio House speaker to pursue reform of congressional redistricting. Issue 1, which will reform Ohio’s hyper-partisan process for drawing legislative districts starting in 2021, passed with 71 percent of the vote. The bipartisan measure drew no organized opposition. Majority Republicans deliberately did not include congressional redistricting as part of the reform; some pointed to a U.S. Supreme Court case out of Arizona that has since been resolved. Groups including the League of Women Voters of Ohio, which strongly backed Issue 1, said the vast public support should prompt similar changes to a process for congressional districts that, many argue, allows for even more partisan gerrymandering.
Talking to reporters on Wednesday, House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, R-Clarksville, gave no indication that he wants to move forward with changes to a congressional-redistricting system that allows the Ohio House and Senate to draw the lines to benefit the majority. “We’ve just proven we can do something really effective here. Now we need to see how the process is going to work,” Rosenberger said of Issue 1. “We need to allow that process to take effect and now actually get into practice so we know that we’ve got something that continues to work well.”
New legislative and congressional maps are drawn every 10 years after a census, so the new process for drawing legislative maps under Issue 1 will not occur until 2021.
“We need to engage our partners in the U.S. Congress and look at how that might be revisited and reformed,” said Rep. Kirk Schuring, R-Canton.