FAIR CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS FOR OHIO PETITION UPDATE
In just one month volunteers throughout Ohio collected over 100,000 signatures on petitions to reform the process of drawing Congressional districts. This was a tremendous effort and we need to keep rolling to get the over 300,000 valid signatures needed to get the initiative on the ballot in 2018. There are still lots of opportunities to get involved.
If you have not yet been trained to circulate the petition, the League is conducting another Fair Districts training on Saturday August 5 from 10:00 a.m. to noon at the Community Action Agency, 1740 Langdon Farm Rd. in Cincinnati. Or you can take the training online at fairdistrictsohio.org, then stop by the League office to log out a petition.
The League of Women Voters of Ohio is sponsoring a booth at the Ohio State Fair to help register voters and collect petition signatures. The fair runs from July 26 through August 6, 2017, and the booth must be staffed from 10 am to 9 pm daily. The League booth is in the North Marketplace, which is an indoor air-conditioned building. If you can take a shift or two, sign up on the Events page of fairdistrisohio.org.
Ohio has a distribution requirement for the valid signatures. Petitioners must submit signatures equal to 5% of the county's total number of gubernatorial votes cast in the last election from 44 of Ohio's 88 counties. Hamilton County is one of only a few counties to have reached its 5% requirement in the first month, along with Adams, Athens, Delaware, Franklin, Greene, Licking and Mercer Counties. However, in addition to the county threshold, there is a 10% statewide requirement. So the Cincinnati Area League needs to keep collecting signatures in Hamilton County to help meet the larger state goal, while also focusing on Butler, Warren, and Clermont Counties.
Ohio's Congressional districts are crazy shapes designed by political gerrymandering* to benefit one party. This is a nonpartisan issue. Both parties make use of gerrymandering to draw districts when they are in control.
LWVO and other nonpartisan organizations drafted a citizens petition to get an Ohio constitutional amendment on the ballot to reform the Congressional districting process. The proposal will require:
- Bipartisan support for a map to be enacted;
- No plan shall favor or disfavor a political party or candidate;
- The district map-drawing process should be open, transparent and accountable to the public; and
- Districts must keep communities together and be compact.
The steadfast work of over 2,000 volunteers statewide produced tens of thousands of petitions so far from all 88 Ohio Counties. The petitions are turned in at regional sites like the LWVCA office and then delivered to the Ohio LWV office in Columbus where they are taken through the following process:
- Review each booklet and the signatures for legal compliance.
- Log all signatures into a voter data base to verify eligible signatures.
- A new Ohio state law requires that an electronic file index is created and is sent to the State along with the paper petitions. Each page (including blank pages) of each petition booklet is scanned and saved as a separate file. This is a time consuming process.
- Process state totals county-by county to identify which counties need focus. Need 44 counties with 5% of voters from the last gubernatorial election.
So let's keep the pipeline full of petitions with valid signatures and put Fair Districts on the ballot to give Ohio voters the opportunity to end gerrymandering.
- The word gerrymandering began in 1812 as a reaction to Massachusetts' Governor Elbridge Gerry's redrawing of the state's election districts. In order to benefit his political party, the district lines were said to resemble the shape of a salamander.
For more information about Fair Districts Ohio click here
IT'S SUMMER TIME...
AND THE LEAGUE'S GETTING BUSY. ELECTION'S COMING...
SO "GET OUT THE VOTE."
Looking for some way special to enjoy the summer months? Check out League opportunities to educate Cincinnati Area voters leading to the 2017 election. There is a myriad of options to satisfy your talents and interests.
- Contact candidates. We want them all included in the League's Voter Guides, if possible.
- Prepare "educational info" for our Voter Guide. 39% of registered citizens don't vote because they feel unprepared. Our goal is to change that.
- Plan and/or assist in election forums. City Council, Judicial candidates, and Ballot Issues are on the horizon this fall.
- Update our website and databases with election information...and add technology experience to your skills or resume.
- Speak out! Join our speakers bureau, develop PowerPoints, write event publicity.
- Take our Get Out the Vote challenge. Plan an event, by yourself, friends, or Unit members, to transform a non-voter into a VOTER. National Voter Registration Day is 9/26, so let's plan lots of events in honor of that day.
If you are interested in volunteering, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Start or renew your membership in the LWVCA! We would love to have you among our ranks.
Don't forget to check out the LWVCA calendar
for current League information!