ISSUE 2 BUS TOUR COMES TO CINCINNATI
SPREADING THE WORD ABOUT AN AMENDMENT THAT WOULD END GERRYMANDERING IN OHIO
The Issue 2 Bus Tour arrived in Cincinnati on Monday October 15th. This tour of Ohio’s cities and rural county seats seeks to spread the word about the State Constitutional Amendment proposal that would completely transform redistricting in Ohio’s from a system that rewards the political party in power to a non-partisan and open process that follows specific criteria for drawing new Congressional and state political district boundaries every ten years. Over shadowed by the Presidential race and with little money to educate voters about this reform, the Issue 2 Campaign is using the bus tour to rally local supporters and to attract some press coverage.
The Issue 2 Bus (actually a van) parked near the Hamilton County Board of Elections on Monday afternoon at 2:00 PM. Local backers of the proposal were on hand to meet the van, and Matthew Cain, an Issue 2 organizer, noted that the tour had already stopped in Hillsboro and Wilmington that day. A brief press conference followed featuring former Hamilton County Commissioner David Pepper and local speakers representing the League of Women Voters and Common Cause.
Pepper declared that Issue 2 would help renew democracy in Ohio by establishing a redistricting process that would provide citizens with fair, compact, and when possible competitive political districts. Not only would the new citizen commission be comprised of an equal number of Republicans, Democrats, and independents, he noted, but it would be required to follow criteria that require geographically compact districts that minimize the division of counties and municipalities. Pepper called attention to the map showing the very uncompact and uncompetitive districts drawn by the Republican majority in 2011.
Speaking for the League of Women Voters of Greater Cincinnati, Nancy Forbriger recalled how redistricting reform has been a priority of the League for many years. “In the past, the Democrats opposed us, and this time around, it is the Republicans.” The Ohio League took a leadership position in developing the Issue 2 proposal, she added, because the Republican Party drew such blatantly uncompetitive Congressional and state districts last year.
Bill Woods, Vice Chair of Common Cause/Ohio, emphasized that Issue 2 really is a product of good government and reform groups such as the League, Common Cause, and Ohio Citizen Action. ”Any party in control of the redistricting system would probably oppose us, and Republicans, who currently hold power, are fighting Issue 2 with a lot of money for misleading mailers and media ads. Quite simply,” he concluded, “allowing elected officials to pick their voters is unhealthy for elections and democracy in general.”
For more information about Issue 2, go to VotersFirstOHIO.com.