The Ohio Senate on Monday passed a bipartisan proposal to change how Ohio draws its congressional districts, advancing the proposed constitutional amendment one step closer to appearing on the May ballot. Advocates for redistricting reform say the proposed changes will curb the legislature’s ability to gerrymander districts to favor a political party or incumbent. The Senate approved a revised Senate Joint Resolution 5 in a 31-0 vote. The House will vote on the resolution Tuesday, one day before the deadline to place a measure on the May ballot. “Hopefully this is an issue that will serve Ohioans for many decades to come,” Sen. Matt Huffman, the Lima Republican leading the effort, said.
Monday night’s vote is the end of four months of bipartisan negotiations, which accelerated in recent weeks and culminated in a Super Bowl Sunday meeting in Akron. Lawmakers also worked with the Fair Districts = Fair Elections coalition, a group of more than 30 organization that have been collecting signatures for a November ballot measure.
The measure approved Monday was a compromise among Republicans, Democrats and redistricting advocates. The plan keeps the legislature in charge of drawing congressional district maps, but adds additional steps at which minority party support is needed to put a map in place for 10 years.