The Ohio House voted Tuesday to present voters with a ballot initiative in May that would amend the state constitution to try and prevent partisan gerrymandering.
If it’s passed, it would be the first time “fairness criteria” is included in the state constitution. Those criteria include mandates that 10-year Congressional maps be bipartisan; that citizens have the right to initiate a referendum over maps they believe are partisan; that the governor may veto a map; and that lawmakers limit the extent to which communities and counties are divided.
“After months of negotiation, thousands of Ohioans speaking out, and several false starts, we’re closer to stopping congressional gerrymandering today than we have ever been before. Though imperfect, this latest plan represents one of the most fundamental tenets of our American democracy–compromise,” House Democratic Leader Fred Strahorn said in a statement published Tuesday. “We support this plan today, with the hope and expectation that it will help impart that same spirit and guiding principle of cooperation on Washington in the near future.”
The Ohio House’s minority caucus blog noted that some Democrats believe the amendment contains loopholes that “in extreme cases, could still allow partisan congressional district rigging.” Even so, the resolution passed in the chamber by a margin of 83-10.