Ohio GOP Calls Redistricting Commission a 'Sham'

Tuesday, 03 Jul 2012 11:54 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Ohio Republicans are opposing an initiative likely to make the November ballot that would allow voters to decide how the state draws up its congressional and legislative districts, the Columbus Dispatch reported Tuesday.
 
The initiative, aimed at replacing the state’s highly partisan system of gerrymandering districts to suit the party in control of the legislature, is headed by a coalition group called Voters First, which includes unions, the League of Women Voters, the NAACP, Democrats, and other organizations.
 
But state Rep. Lou Blessing calls the proposal, which would create a redistricting commission made up equally of Republicans, Democrats and independents, “a sham and a charade,” charging in a letter stating his views that it will not include ‘true independents.”
 
“You can bet the two political parties will have so-called independents apply who are totally sympathetic to one party or the other, and they will let their judges know who these people are,” Blessing wrote. “And the media will never know because these judges can act in secrecy.”
 
Voters First says it plans to turn in more than 430,000 valid petition signatures on Wednesday, which would be enough to place their proposal on the ballot. The proposal, which would establish the Ohio Citizens Independent Redistricting Commission, bars elected officials, lobbyists, and major political donors from serving on the panel.
 
If approved by voters, the new redistricting plan would take effect in the 2014 elections.

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