The Ohio Republican Party announced July 17 that it will be scrutinizing petition signatures for an amendment that would reform Ohio’s redistricting laws.
The petition, supported by Voters First, seeks to put the redistricting issue to vote by placing an amendment on the November ballot that would give redistricting powers to an independent citizen commission. More than 450,000 petition signatures were turned into the Ohio Secretary of State on July 3, well over the 385,000 required.
The signatures will be reviewed by state officials, but the Ohio Republican Party has declared it wants to go further.
“Given that we have witnessed cases where Voters First engaged in fraudulent activity, we have assembled a team of volunteers to ensure that every petition signature gathered meets Ohio’s laws and regulations,” said Izzy Santa, spokesperson for the Ohio Republican Party.
Since Ohio established its redistricting law in 1967, which tasks the state government to redraw district boundaries every 10 years, Republicans have been in power to decide district boundaries four out of six times — in 1967, 1991, 2001 and 2011. Democrats have only controlled the process twice — in 1971 and 1981.
In Cincinnati, the latest round of redistricting added more rural and suburban areas to the city’s congressional district, potentially giving more political weight to Republicans in the district.
CityBeat attempted to contact Voters First for comment but no response was given before press time.