Voters on May 8 have a chance to change the way Ohio draws Congressional maps. Issue 1 would require more bipartisanship in a line-drawing process that currently has few rules. It’s not the first time a redistricting proposal has gone to the ballot. But Issue 1 has brought together Republicans, Democrats and several groups advocating for reform. It takes a majority of the legislature to pass a map, and that means the party in power has a lot of say over how it looks. For decades, there have been attempts to shake up this process. “Millions of dollars were spent on both sides, countless redistricting reformers were engaged in those efforts, and we came to naught,” said Catherine Turcer, the director of Common Cause Ohio, one of the groups supporting Issue 1.
Common Cause, the League of Women Voters and other groups gathered petition signatures to put a new plan on the ballot. The state legislature drew up its own ideas. In February, the two sides negotiated a deal. For a time, Turcer said, it didn’t seem like they were going to agree.
“So I do feel like it’s a minor miracle that Democrats and Republicans came together and came up with redistricting reform,” she said.