Redistricting Reform Amendment Still Needs Signatures

Voters First says it will gather the signatures necessary by July 28 deadline

click to enlarge Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted announced Wednesday Voters First did not turn in enough valid signatures for its redistricting reform amendment. The organization will now have to gather 130,000 more signatures before July 28 if the amendment is to appear on the November ballot. The organization fired back in a statement Wednesday, saying it will still have enough signatures to get the amendment on the ballot. “We never stopped collecting signatures even after filing our first round of petitions on July 3rd,” Dennis Willard, spokesperson for Voters First, said in the statement. The organization has criticized Republicans for building a campaign against the Voters First amendment. In an email to Voters First supporters Wednesday, Ann Henkener, a board member of the League of Women Voters, said Republicans were holding meetings to find ways to stop the amendment. Henkener may not be far off. Dayton Daily News reported Tuesday that Republicans have launched Protect Your Vote Ohio, a PAC in opposition to the Voters First amendment. David Langdon, a Cincinnati-based conservative, was named as the PAC’s treasurer. If the Voters First amendment appeared on the ballot and passed, redistricting would be placed in the hands of an independent citizens commission. Under the current system, district boundaries are redrawn every 10 years by state officials — a system politicians have taken advantage of by redrawing districts in politically advantageous ways. Cincinnati’s district was redrawn during the Republican-controlled process to include more suburban and rural areas, particularly Warren County, in a move that could give Republicans an advantage on Election Day.

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