The Ohio Ballot Board today unanimously certified the Citizens Not Politicians Amendment, clearing the way for everyday citizens across Ohio in the coming days to begin collecting signatures to put the constitutional amendment to end gerrymandering on the ballot in 2024.
“For years, I have seen how politicians, both Democrats and Republicans, ignore the will of their constituents, knowing they will continue to be elected and reelected, not because they have earned the support of a majority of voters, but because they have rigged the system in their favor,” said signature gatherer Nadia Zaiem of Westlake. “This has left many of us in Ohio without a voice and without representatives who truly advocate for us. It’s time to take politicians out of the process.”
The coalition must collect 413,487 valid signatures of registered voters by July 3, 2024 to qualify for the 2024 Ohio General Election Ballot.
“This is truly a grassroots effort with citizens of all politics and backgrounds stepping up to help end gerrymandering and bring us fair maps and a transparent process,” said Amber Decker, a stay-at-home parent from Worthington. “I am circulating these petitions to get this amendment on the ballot because we need to get the politicians out of map drawing and put citizens in charge.”
The Citizens Not Politicians Amendment will:
- Create the 15-member Ohio Citizens Redistricting Commission made up of Republican, Democratic and independent citizens who broadly represent the different geographic areas and demographics of the state.
- Ban current or former politicians, political party officials, and lobbyists from sitting on the commission.
- Require fair and impartial districts by making it unconstitutional to draw voting districts that discriminate against or favor any political party or individual politician.
- Require the commission to operate under an open and independent process.
The amendment and updated summary can be found at www.citizensnotpoliticians.org/petition.
Currently, the process of redistricting is controlled by politicians who are able to draw districts that all but ensure their own re-election. This amendment puts an end to that by banning current and recent political officeholders, those with strong political party or campaign ties, and lobbyists from participating in the process, and instead empowers Ohio citizens by creating the OCRC and requiring the Commission to draw fair maps through an open and independent process.
“The current system is deeply flawed because politicians – Democrats and Republicans – draw districts to favor their own political interests,” said former Ohio Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, who is one of the leaders of the effort. “Ohio is one of the country’s most gerrymandered states, and this proposal would end that by empowering citizens, not politicians, to draw fair districts using an open and independent process.”