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Draft Amendment

 

Ohio Citizens Redistricting Commission to Stop Gerrymandering of Ohio’s State Legislative and Congressional Districts

    (A)   There is hereby created the Ohio Citizens Redistricting Commission which shall establish the boundaries of Ohio General Assembly and U.S. Congressional districts. 

    (B)   The Commission shall be established upon approval of this amendment and following each federal decennial census.  

    (C)   The Commission shall consist of 30 members, selected as follows:

1.    Any Ohio registered voter shall be eligible to serve as a member of the Commission except if that person or a member of his or her immediate family (spouse, children, siblings, or parents) has, during the last 10 years, had any form of paid employment with the state or federal government, or has been a paid lobbyist as defined under state or federal law.   No current  member of a major party county or state Central or Executive Committee shall be eligible.

 2.    Eligible persons may submit applications to the Ohio Secretary of State during the 60 days following the effective date of this amendment or during the 60 days following the release of the decennial census.  Each applicant must declare as a supporter of one of the two largest political parties or as having no preference between them.  The major party applicants must have registered as a member (taken the ballot of) that party in at least one of the preceding three even year primary elections and not have registered as a member of another party in those elections.  Those declaring no major party preference must have not registered as a member of either major party or have registered with both during those three preceding even year elections.  The Ohio Secretary of State shall advertise the program, disseminate appropriate forms, collect applications, and determine eligibility of applicants.

3.    Within 10 days after the close of the application period, the Ohio Secretary of State will publicly select, by lot, 10 qualified applicants declared for each major party and 10 from those who declared that they had no party preference from each of 5 equal population (within 2%) regions (south west, north west, central, south east and north east) covering Ohio.  The regions shall be drawn by the Secretary of State.  Within the next 30 days, each of the two largest political parties represented in the Ohio Legislature shall meet as single bodies of Senate and House members to choose 2 members and 2 alternates for each region from the 10 selected applicants for their respective parties. 

4.  Within 15 days after the close of the application period, the bodies of Senate and House members (as described in C 4. above)  for each party will select 5 of their members to participate in the selection of Commission members from those who have declared that they have no party preference.  During the next 25 days, those 10 legislators will remove, by majority vote, up to 6 of those 10 applicants from each of the five regions. They will then select 2 of the remaining 4 as members and 2 as alternates.  Should they be unable to agree on the selections, the Secretary of State shall draw by lot from those not removed to make the selections.  

5.  Members shall be compensated at a rate of twice the prevailing minimum wage for hours worked and shall receive compensation for actual and necessary expenses.

6.  Members shall serve until a new Commission is selected following the next federal decennial census.

7.  After Commission deliberations begin, a member may be removed for disruptive or other egregious conduct by a vote of 20 members.  A removed, deceased, or resigned member shall be replaced by drawing by lot from the alternates selected by the same group from the same region

   (D)  The Commission shall draw the boundaries for the legislative districts by the following procedure:

1.      The Commission shall, by majority vote, select an existing software system which shall facilitate the drawing and scoring of legislative district maps.  The scoring shall rate the maps based upon competitiveness (nearly equal favoring of parties within each district as shown in previous general elections), compactness (regular district shapes with a minimum of fragmentation of counties and municipalities), and fairness (establishing the ratio districts tending toward each major party approximating the average ratio of votes cast state wide for each party in the last 5 even year elections).  The exact rating parameters and their weighting shall be approved by 20 members of the commission.

2. General Assembly members, staff or other representatives of General Assembly members shall have no contact with the Commission during the map drawing process nor shall those legislators attempt to influence the process in any way.

3.   The Commission shall make the software publicly available and advertise that anyone may submit maps for the districts during the next 90 days.  Commission members may submit entries.

4.  Within 30 days after the close of the map submission period, the commission shall select the maps for the Ohio House, Ohio Senate, and Ohio Congressional representation from the top 5 scored entries for each.  Each selection shall require the approval of 20 members.

5.   Should the commission fail to make the selection within those 30 days, that selection shall be made by the Ohio Supreme Court.

   (E)   The legislative maps drawn under this process shall be used for these legislative districts in the next even year primary and general elections if completed more than 240 days before that general election and for subsequent even year elections through the year of the next decennial census.