After failing to collect the required valid signatures in their first effort, Secretary of State Jon Husted certified that the Voters First supplemental submission included enough signatures to qualify its redistricting reform amendment for the November ballot. In total, the group collected 406,514 signatures – more than the 385,253 needed to qualify for the ballot.
The Voters First amendment would create a 12-member citizens’ commission responsible for drawing new congressional and state legislative district lines. It would comprise an equal number of Democrats, Republicans and independent voters. New lines would be drawn in 2014 and after every decennial census. Among the effort’s supporters is We Are Ohio, the group formed last year to repeal Senate Bill 5’s collective bargaining reform measures.
The amendment has drawn fire from Republicans, including Husted himself. Protect Your Vote Ohio, the group formed to fight the amendment, released a statement saying that the amendment creates a citizen commission that is unaccountable to taxpayers and their elected representatives, has “unusual and arbitrary eligibility rules” and permanently installs an untested process into the state Constitution. Supporters of the amendment responded that Protect Your Vote Ohio simply represents the interests whose grip on power would be loosened with passage of the amendment.
The Voters First amendment is one of two issues that will appear on the November 6 ballot. Efforts such as those to legalize medical marijuana, secure funding for clean energy and to ban dog auctions failed to turn in any signatures by the deadline for this fall’s ballot. The other issue facing voters is the question of whether Ohio should hold a constitutional convention to revise the Ohio Constitution. The issue is required to appear on the ballot every 20 years.