Ohio’s system of redrawing districts used to choose members of Congress and the state General Assembly is far from perfect. But so is the proposal to alter it.
Federal law requires that after every U.S. census is taken, states use information from it to rearrange congressional districts, making them as nearly equal in population as possible.
When that was done in Ohio this time around, accusations the Republican-controlled General Assembly engaged in gerrymandering were heard.
That prompted critics of the current redistricting system to offer an alternative. It will be on the Nov. 6 election ballot, as state Issue 2, for voters to decide.
Instead of allowing legislators to redraw congressional district boundaries, Issue 2 envisions a 12-member citizens’ commission to do the job.
Applicants for the panel would be narrowed down by a panel of judges, then shaved down even more by Democrats and Republicans in the General Assembly. Finally, using in part a system of drawing lots, the 12 final members of the commission would be chosen.
Clearly, that does not remove politics from the process. Far from it.
Neither the state Bar Association nor the Ohio Judicial Conference like the Issue 2 proposal, in part because of its complexity and the likelihood it would be challenged in court, even if approved on Nov. 6.
Buckeye State voters should reject Issue 2, which could well create as many problems as it solves. Again, politics would remain a factor in redistricting, because of the system to be used to select members of the citizens’ commission.
On Nov. 6, then – or sooner, for those who plan to use the early voting program – Ohioans casting ballots should vote “no” on Issue 2. Efforts indeed should be made to improve the redistricting process, but Issue 2, while new, certainly is not improved.