COLUMBUS—State Representative Keith Faber (R-Celina) announced that the Ohio House has passed a bipartisan plan to reform the process for drawing Ohio’s Congressional districts. After weeks of negotiations between both parties and interested advocacy groups, Senate Joint Resolution 5 will now go before voters on the primary ballot on May 8th.
SJR 5 ensures that Ohio’s congressional map-making process features bipartisan support, keeps communities of interest whole and promotes districts that are compact and competitive.
“I have had the opportunity to help draft and vote on various redistricting reform proposals—such as SJR 1 and HJR 12—and SJR 5 shares similar priority items,” said Faber. “Redistricting reform is challenging. There are so many pieces to the redistricting puzzle and it is hard to please everyone. While a bit complicated, SJR 5 requires compromise and negotiation, and therefore should produce better districts. I am particularly pleased to see that the plan retains legislative involvement and that it emphasizes compactness and keeping communities together by limiting divisions of counties, townships and municipalities—a struggle my county knows well since we are split into three congressional districts. I commend those that devoted so much time and focus to this resolution and I hope the voters agree and support this initiative on the May ballot.”
SJR 5 aims to implement a congressional redistricting system similar to Issue 1, a 2015 ballot initiative that then Senate President Faber helped craft to change the way state House and Senate districts are drawn. Ohioans approved that ballot initiative with over 70 percent of the vote.
If passed by voters in May, Ohio’s new redistricting system would require drawing a map that earns three-fifths support by each chamber of the General Assembly, including at least 50 percent support from the minority party.
Failure to meet that threshold would send the decision to the seven-member Redistricting Commission, consisting of appointees from the Governor, Secretary of State and State Auditor, as well as two Republicans and two Democrats from the Ohio House and Senate. The commission’s goal would be to create a 10-year map that earns majority approval from the commission and approval from at least two minority party members.
Further steps are also in place should the commission fail to meet that requirement, including ultimately the General Assembly approving a temporary map lasting for four years, after which time the process begins anew to create a six-year map.
Having passed both legislative chambers, SJR 5 now heads to the Secretary of State’s office to be filed as a ballot initiative where, you, the voters will make the ultimate decision on this issue.