Fair Districts News - Legislative Hearings & New Report 
 
Dear Friends, 

Thanks to all the hard work of Fair Districts supporters across Ohio, our state legislature finally began to hold hearings on congressional redistricting reform! Yesterday - Thursday, October 26th - the Ohio legislature held the first public hearing of the Congressional Redistricting Working Group.  

This bipartisan, joint committee is composed of Representatives Kirk Schuring (R-Canton) and Jack Cera (D-Bellaire) and Senators Matt Huffman (R-Lima) and Vernon Sykes (D-Akron). Huffman and Sykes were the cosponsors of the state redistricting reform measure approved by voters as state Issue 1 in 2015.
 
The Working Group is tasked with gathering public input on congressional redistricting reform and proposing reform recommendations. The legislature is then expected to turn those reform proposals into a piece of legislation to be debated and voted on by the legislature in time to put it before voters, perhaps as soon as the May 2018 primary election.
 
During the legislative Working Group's first public forum on October 26, they heard more than two hours of testimony from witnesses, all of whom argued in favor of reform. Watch a video recording of the hearing here.
 
Witnesses included voter rights and Fair Districts campaign leaders and volunteers from around Ohio. Read some of the highlights in news coverage from the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Columbus Dispatch, and Ohio Public Radio Statehouse News Bureau.
 
To highlight Ohio's very long history of gerrymandering and the many times the legislature could have enacted new, fairer rules, the League of Women Voters of Ohio and Common Cause Ohio released a new report, "Ohio's Gerrymandering Problem: Why Haven't We Fixed This Yet?" 
  • This report can be a great resource for your local League's speakers bureau, as it highlights LWVO's work on this issue over the years and how we have consistently opposed gerrymandering regardless of which political party drew the lines.
  • Since the report contains only factual material, with no lobbying, it can be used in classrooms as part of civics lessons.
  • You can also pick out interesting facts to include in letters to the editor, op-eds, or other writings about the need for congressional redistricting reform.
The October 26 hearing room was packed with supporters of the Fair Districts campaign, many wearing Fair Districts t-shirts and buttons or carrying signs.
 
THANK YOU for helping show legislators how much this issue means to Ohio!
 
TAKE ACTION:
  1. Join us at the Statehouse for the next hearing on Wed. Nov. 1 at 6pm! We want to pack the room once again with Fair Districts supporters - wear your t-shirts and buttons.
  2. Present testimony at the hearing. Stories are an important part of our effort. Here are some ideas -- Tell legislators why you support Fair Districts. Share how gerrymandering impacts your community, such as if your city or county is split into multiple districts or if you are an independent or third-party voter who is impacted by districts skewed to favor one party. Share a favorite story from collecting petition signatures about what reasons your neighbors signed.
  3. Can't come in person or don't care for public speaking? Send written testimony! See #2 for suggestions about what to write. Please send your testimony to the Chair of the committee, State Rep. Kirk Schuring. His email is kirk.schuring@ohiohouse.gov.
  4. Submit a letter to the editor of your local paper, calling on the legislature to pass reform. The public hearings this week and next are a perfect opportunity to write a letter to the editor talking about why congressional redistricting reform is good for your community.
 
Yours in League, 

Carrie Davis
Executive Director 
League of Women Voters of Ohio
Paid for by League of Women Voters of Ohio 
17 South High Street St # 650, Columbus, OH 43215 
614-469-1505 | www.lwvohio.org