Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted, a longtime advocate of reforming the redistricting process in Ohio, said that he opposes the Voters First initiative. “Of course we should go to a more bipartisan approach on redistricting, but the one pending before us is not the solution,” Husted said. “We can’t have each party end-running the other one to try to get their way to do this.”. Each decade, Ohio redraws legislative and congressional lines after the census. If one political party has a clear majority, those lines are often drawn to that party’s advantage. Dan Tokaji, an election law professor from the Ohio State University, advocates an overhaul of the reapportionment process. “It’s not surprising that partisan politicians and party bosses are trying to hold onto their power,” Tokaji said. “What the Voters First Initiative would install is a non-partisan independent citizens commission.”
Tokaji helped write Voters First which would establish a 12-member commission that would be made up of non-politicians.
Those members would go through an application process that would eliminate politicians, lobbyists and large financial contributors. Voters First has the backing of the state Democratic and Libertarian parties. The League of Women Voters, Common Cause, Citizen Action, the Ohio Council of Churches and the NAACP also support it. The Ohio Republican Party does not.