Backers of a ballot measure to change how Ohio draws congressional districts are moving forward with little hope state lawmakers will draft a better plan. The congressional redistricting reforms proposed last week by Republican Sen. Matt Huffman would make it impossible to draw districts such as the “snake on the lake”-shaped 9th district. But critics say the proposal, Senate Joint Resolution 5, will also ensure that the majority party — currently Republicans — can draw a map that gives them plenty of safe seats. When leaders of the Fair Districts = Fair Elections coalition were asked what lawmakers could change about the proposal to win their support, they laughed. “How much time do you have?” Ann Henkener of the League of Women Voters of Ohio said at a Monday press conference.
“I always hope that both sides of an issue can come together and figure out something,” Henkener said. “I’m truly hoping this happens there. But there’s a pretty big gulf between what we want and what SJR5 is proposing.”
The league and other reform advocates will make the case for changes to the proposal in two Senate committee hearings this week. The Senate could hold a full floor vote on the plan as early as Wednesday.