Ohio Redistricting Map Veto Referendum (2012)

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An Ohio Redistricting Map Veto Referendum did not appear the November 6, 2012 ballot in the state of Ohio as a veto referendum. The initial efforts, lead by Democratic lawmaking officials, to place the measure on the ballot were dropped due to the congressional map that was agreed upon in legislature on December 14, 2011.[1]

The measure had been suggested as a means of overturning the initial congressional redistricting plan that made its way through the Ohio General Assembly.

However, other groups in the state claimed they were unhappy with the agreed upon legislation. According to Dan Tokaji, a law professor at Ohio State University, who along with others is leading the effort: "The state legislature has left nothing but a big lump of coal in the stockings of all Ohio's citizens. And the only one with a gift under their tree this year are a few politicians and the party that is dominant in Ohio at the moment."[2]

The redistricting plan legislation was approved by the House on September 15, 2011 and by the Senate on September 22. Just prior to Senate approval, a committee added $2.75 million to the bill to help local boards of election implement the new map.

The added appropriation called into question whether the redistricting legislation was subject to veto referendum. According to the Ohio Constitution, bills that appropriated funds took effect immediately and were not subject to repeal. Legal experts, however, argued that a referendum could have still been possible. Democratic Party spokesman Seth Bringman said at the time that all options were being considered to fight the redistricting maps.[3]

GOP's proposed Ohio Congressional Districts

2011 redistricting

See also: Redistricting in Ohio

On September 15, 2011, the Ohio House of Representatives approved the plan legislation, House Bill 319, by a 56 - 36 margin. The bill was approved by the Ohio State Senate on September 22.

The bill could also have been subject to a lawsuit challenging its constitutionality.[4]v While the prospects of a successful referendum were unclear at that time, the move had worked before. In 1915, Democrats succeeded in overturning a Republican redistricting plan at the ballot box.[5]

Initial map complaints

A previous map, drafted by Ohio's Republican majority, had drawn heavy opposition from state Democrats. According to Ohio Democratic Chairman Chris Redfern: "We are prepared to use every tool, every constitutional resource at our disposal to fight this unfair, anti-voter congressional map. While we're not surprised that Republicans are again ignoring the will of the people, Republicans should not be surprised when the people of the state fight back."

Among complaints surrounding the proposed redistricting map included the dividing of Toledo, Ohio into three separate districts.

  • One of these districts stretched from Toledo to Cleveland, pairing Marcy Kaptur (D) with Dennis Kucinich (D) and setting up what would have been a contentious primary battle.
  • In Cleveland, the plan eliminated Betty Sutton's district, shifting her home into Jim Renacci's (R) Republican-leaning district.
  • In southwest Ohio, Mike Turner (R) and Steve Austria (R) would have also been paired in a single district.
  • The map also created a new district centered in Columbus.

Overall, the map was expected to significantly strengthen Republican incumbents and solidify potential swing districts in favor of the GOP.[6][7]

While many object to dividing municipalities, according to State Rep. Lynn Wachtmann (R), "There are good examples in the state where communities who've had multiple congressional officeholders and multiple state legislators have used that to their advantage to gain more momentum by virtue of... more members working for their efforts." Republicans also note that although Democrats were allotted state funds to produce a competing map, no map was offered. Democrats have since responded that they favor a non-political solution for redistricting.[5]

Litigation

  • A lawsuit was filed by state Democrats with the Ohio Supreme Court on September 28, 2011, asking the court to decide whether state lawmakers acted legally when they added monetary incentives for county election boards to the redistricting proposal just before approval.
According to Ohio House GOP spokesman, Mike Dittoe: "The lawsuit is baseless. We certainly believe that the appropriation that was attached by the Ohio Senate was done properly and is appropriate for the subject at hand."[8]

No developments have been further reported on the lawsuit.

Path to the ballot

See also: Ohio signature requirements

The initiative effort was reported to have had enough signatures to turn in by the December 25 petition drive deadline and earn a place before voters in 2012. Supporters of the redistricting map veto referendum declared in early December 2011 that they were well on their way to ballot access, and hoped to have signatures turned in by December 23. The Ohio Democratic Party, the main supporters of the referendum, stated that they had surpassed 100,000 signatures during the weekend of November 25.[9]

A minimum of 231,149 valid petition signatures would have been required to qualify the proposed referendum for the 2012 statewide ballot. However, the initial efforts were dropped due to the map that was agreed upon on December 14, 2011.

The new veto referendum proposal must meet the same requirements as the before, but with a new deadline, which is 60 days after the new map was signed into law.

See also

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External links

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References


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