Ohio group backing citizen redistricting to submit 731K signatures for November ballot

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Ohio could soon vote on a new redistricting model that replaces politicians with a citizen panel. Backers of the overhaul are poised to submit more than 731,000 signatures on Monday to make the November ballot.

Citizens Not Politicians wants to replace the current method of drawing congressional and legislative districts, which relies on politicians holding the mapmaking pen, with a 15-member citizen panel. Five Democrats, five Republicans and five independents would comprise the new Ohio Citizens Redistricting Commission.

The group will submit 731,306 signatures to the Ohio Secretary of State’s office Monday morning and hold a noon rally at the Ohio Statehouse’s atrium, according to a Citizens Not Politicians news release.

Members of the commission could not have close ties to politicians or political parties. Active lobbyists and political consultants would be barred from the panel.

Proponents of the new redistricting model say politicians must be removed from drawing districts for themselves and their friends. The Ohio Supreme Court, under the leadership of Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, repeatedly rejected politician-approved maps because they violated anti-gerrymandering language approved by voters in 2015 and 2018.

Now, O’Connor and her former colleague Yvette McGee Brown are asking Ohioans to take a different approach. They are spearheading the Citizens not Politicians campaign.

To make the November ballot, the campaign must submit 413,487 valid signatures from at least 44 counties by Wednesday. The Ohio Secretary of State’s office will review the list to ensure those who signed are registered to vote, their signatures are legible and a variety of other technical requirements.

The ballot campaign says it has collected signatures from all 88 counties and hit the threshold required in 57.

Read more here.