As educators, we get our students ready to participate in a democracy. When our students tell us, “My vote won’t make a difference,” we immediately reassure them that each vote counts. If we are unable to change Ohio’s gerrymandered electoral districts, your vote won’t make a difference.
In 2011, the Ohio Apportionment Board changed the boundary lines for the Ohio House and Senate Districts, along with U.S. Congressional Districts. The results are bizarre-looking districts drawn to benefit the party in power in Ohio. Because 80 percent of the districts are stacked to favor one party, Republican voters in a Democratic district and Democratic voters in a Republican district would never be able to elect their party’s endorsed candidate.
Fortunately, we have the opportunity to put an end to this backdoor political preening, thanks to Voters First. Led by the non-partisan League of Women voters, the coalition counts more than 25 Ohio non-partisan organizations on its roster, including OEA.
Right now, petitions are being circulated to place the Ohio Citizens’ Independent Redistricting Committee Amendment on the ballot in the November 2012 General Election. We need more than 385,000 signatures to ensure this constitutional amendment appears on the ballot.
This amendment would create the Ohio Citizens’ Redistricting Committee, a twelve-member group that would decide the boundaries of electoral districts. The committee would be comprised of four Republicans, four Democrats and four voters with no party affiliation.
FRs attending the May 3 CEA Legislative Assembly were trained to collect signatures. Be sure to see your FR so you can sign the petition and protect your vote. You may call Judy Nelson at CEA at 253-4731 to obtain your own petition to circulate.
Remember, this is a non-partisan issue. The gerrymandered electoral districts affect Republicans and Democrats equally. This amendment is about making sure that your vote counts.