WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Thursday, Sept. 14, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost (R) once again rejected ballot language for a proposed amendment to the Ohio Constitution that would create a citizen-led, independent redistricting commission in the state.
In a letter, Yost — as he did when he rejected the first summary submitted — claimed the summary language describing the amendment was not a “fair and truthful representation of the proposed amendment.” This time, Yost specifically argued the summary failed to properly explain the amendment’s definition of political affiliation “as applied to Commission members versus Panel members.” By panel, Yost is referring to the initial group of individuals who screen potential members to serve on the redistricting commission.
Citizens Not Politicians, the pro-voting group that submitted the summary, said in a statement that they were “disappointed and frustrated that the Attorney General has chosen to reject our petition summary for a second time,” and that they know their “summary language was accurate.” They vowed to collect new signatures in order to refile the language again.
The proposed commission would consist entirely of citizens, and would be evenly split between Democrats, Republicans and independents. While Ohio already has a redistricting commission, as approved by voters in 2018, it consists only of partisan elected officials or individuals appointed by elected officials. As a result, Republicans control the current commission and have failed to produce fair maps.
In fact, the existing commission is now beginning its sixth redraw of the state’s legislative maps after the previous maps were repeatedly struck down by the Ohio Supreme Court. Making matters worse, earlier this week the commission had to delay its first meeting in over a year because Republicans couldn’t agree on a co-chair.