‘Our house, our maps:’ group delivers sig­na­tures to put citizen-led amendment on ballot

This November, Ohioans may may weigh another statewide citizen-led change to Ohio’s constitution.

Monday morning, two U-Haul trucks delivered 810 boxes to Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose’s office. Each box was filled with signatures collected from every county in the state in support of Citizens Not Politicians, a nonpartisan campaign to get a citizen-initiated constitutional amendment on November’s ballot.

The group wants to create a Citizens Redistricting Commission to draw the state’s voting district maps guided by public input. Currently, Ohio elected officials decide where the boundaries lie.

Supporters like retired Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor said putting the power in the peoples’ hands will help ensure the state’s electoral process is fair.

“Nobody should be afraid of this amendment except maybe the elected politicians,” she said.

If it passes, O’Connor said $7 million is included in the amendment, a portion of which would be paid as a per-diem to the eventually selected commission members. She said it’s the same amount of money the legislature spent in 2022 to draw the current maps.

She said the goal is to take political motivation out of the equation to avoid gerrymandering in Ohio.

“Wherever the chips fall, that’s where they’re going to fall,” O’Connor said. “Let’s just have an independent, transparent, nonpartisan process in order to do it. That’s all we’re asking for.”

In response to the group’s forward movement on the ballot measure, Olivia Wile, press secretary for the Ohio House Republican Caucus provided a statement:

“Our current maps, approved unanimously last fall, are once again under attack by liberal organizations trying to deceive voters because their candidates don’t reflect the values of the Ohioans who elect them.”

John Fortney, director of communications for the Ohio Senate Majority Caucus, also provided a statement:

“Citizens Not Politicians should be renamed Political Outcomes over People. This so-called citizens panel will have zero accountability to the people. When it dissolves, they disappear and Ohioans will be left holding a bag filled with sprawling gerrymandered districts for radical leftists with nowhere to turn to for answers and accountability.”

Organizers said they collected 731,306 signatures, nearly double the 413,487 valid signatures of registered voters required by LaRose’s office to qualify for the Nov. 5 Ohio General Election Ballot. LaRose’s office now has to validate the signatures collected.

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