The Ohio Senate president said he anticipates a vote on Thursday on a plan that would change the way the state draws legislative districts. But Democrats already say it won’t go very far to end the partisan gerrymandering that allows the majority party to rig the election system to its benefit. Arguing that discussions are not progressing quickly enough on an already-introduced redistricting plan, Senate President Keith Faber, R-Celina, rolled out a new plan yesterday that would not alter the current process for creating the congressional map. Faber has said he is reluctant to change the congressional mapping process while there is a case out of Arizona pending before the U.S. Supreme Court on how involved a legislature must be in drawing those districts. Reportedly there has been private push-back from Ohio’s congressional delegation on making changes to the current process, which has provided most members with safe seats. Asked about conversations with U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, Faber would say only that he has spoken to various members of the congressional delegation and there are varying opinions.
Under the new Senate proposal, a seven-member panel — the governor, auditor and secretary of state, plus four lawmakers, two from each party — would draw House and Senate maps.
If a consensus cannot be reached on maps that includes at least one minority party vote, the four lawmakers would be removed from the panel and the three statewide officeholders would draw the maps. Those maps would then be put on the statewide ballot, and voters would be asked if the redistricting commission should reconvene to draw new districts.