If the Yes On 2 campaign is truly about anything, it is about who has the most sway over who represents us. Few would argue that it should be the voters themselves, little surpise then that the Yes On Issue 2 campaign calls itself Voters First.
In reality, voters have the least sway over who gets to represent them. This is demonstrated with 2 very simple examples.
Example 1, Jim Renacci: The 13 minute Man
A member of Speaker Boehner’s staff, Tom Whatman, sent an e-mail to NRCC staffer Adam Kinciad, and others in charge of drawing the new districts, requesting a last minute change to District 16 by adding a large business. Then, within 13 minutes of the first e-mail, the NRCC staffers had already responded that Timken would now be in Renacci’s district, no problem, no questions asked.
In our second example, Urban Voters Lose Out in Ohio’s 1st Congressional District
Clearly, just from these 2 example, of which there are many more, our redistricting process is broken. We have waited year after year for politicians in Columbus to fix this rigged system, but they have failed us. Now we have an opportunity to fix the system ourselves, by voting Yes On Issue 2.
Voters First’s proposal will create an Independent Citizens Commission. Politicians, lobbyists and political insiders are prohibited from serving on the commission. The Commission’s work will be open and it will be accountable to the public. The Commission will empower voters to choose their politicians instead of politicians picking their voters.
- Citizens, Not Politicians. Instead of the current procedures (in which politicians draw district boundaries that unfairly favor their own party and/or protect incumbents), a 12-member Citizens Commission will create the districts. Any member of the public can submit a plan for consideration.
- Openness and Transparency. All meetings, records, communications and draft plans of the Commission must be open to the public. No more backroom deals.
- Balance and Impartiality. The Citizens Commission will include equal numbers of Republicans, Democrats and independents, and the approval of at least seven of the twelve members of the commission will be required for the adoption of any plan. This will ensure that the final plan fairly represents all Ohioans, not just those currently in power.
- Community Representation. Districts will be created that are geographically compact, and which minimize the division of counties, townships, municipalities and wards between different districts.
- Accountability & Competitive Districts. Politically balanced districts will be created, rather than “safe districts” which make it difficult or impossible for voters to hold elected officials accountable.
- Fairness. To the greatest extent possible, the share of districts leaning toward a party will reflect the political preferences of the voters of Ohio.