COLUMBUS—State Representative Laura Lanese (R-Grove City) announced that the Ohio House has approved Senate Joint Resolution 5, paving the way for historic, bipartisan redistricting reform to now go before voters on the primary ballot on May 8th.
SJR 5 ensures that Ohio’s congressional map-making process features bipartisan support, keeps communities of interest whole and promotes districts that are compact and competitive.
“After months of deliberations between groups representing the interests of Democrats, Republicans, and non-partisan redistricting reform advocates, the General Assembly passed a resolution that offers a bipartisan solution to redistricting,” said Lanese. “This initiative ensures more competitive districts which, in turn, guarantees that all Ohioans’ voices are heard during the election process.”
The culmination of months of bipartisan talks among the House, Senate and engaged citizen groups, SJR 5 aims to implement a congressional redistricting system similar to Issue 1, a 2015 ballot initiative that changed the way state House and Senate districts are drawn. Ohioans approved that ballot initiative with over 70 percent of the vote.
If passed by voters in May, Ohio’s new redistricting system would require drawing a map that earns three-fifths support by each chamber of the General Assembly, including at least 50 percent support from the minority party.
Failure to meet that threshold would send the decision to the seven-member Redistricting Commission, consisting of appointees from the Governor, Secretary of State and State Auditor, as well as two Republicans and two Democrats from the Ohio House and Senate. The commission’s goal would be to create a 10-year map that earns majority approval from the commission and approval from at least two minority party members.
Further steps are also in place should the commission fail to meet that requirement, including ultimately the General Assembly approving a temporary map lasting for four years, after which time the process begins anew to create a six-year map.
Having passed both legislative chambers, SJR 5 now heads to the Secretary of State’s office to be filed as a ballot initiative.