To add and repeal language in Sections 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9 and 13 of Article XI, repeal Sections 8 and 14 of Article XI, and add a new Section 16 to Article XI of the Constitution of the State of Ohio.
A majority yes vote is necessary for the amendment to pass.
The proposed amendment would:
1. Remove the authority of elected representatives and grant new authority to appointed officials to establish congressional and state legislative district lines.
2. Create a state funded commission of appointed officials from a limited pool of applicants to replace the aforementioned. The Commission will consist of 12 members (4 affiliated with the largest political party, 4 affiliated with the second largest political party, and 4 not affiliated with either of the two largest political parties) who will be chosen as follows:
A. On or before January 1 of the year that the decennial census is conducted, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio shall select by lot a panel consisting of eight judges of the courts of appeals of Ohio, no more than four of whom may be members of the same political party. This panel of judges shall be responsible for selecting potential members of the Commission. On or before April 1 of the year that the decennial census is conducted, this panel of judges shall appoint an independent auditor who shall assist the judges in determining the eligibility of potential members of the Commission.
B. Eligible persons may submit applications for membership on the Commission to the Secretary of State by May 1 of the year that the decennial census is conducted. The Secretary of State shall make available an appropriate application form designed to help determine the eligibility and qualifications of applicants and shall publicize the application process. The Secretary of State shall provide the panel of judges with the applications and any other records necessary to determine eligibility of the applicants.
C. On or before August 1 of the year that the decennial census is conducted, the panel of eight judges described in subparagraph A shall select from the applicants forty-two individuals to serve as potential members of the Commission. The judges, after adopting a selection procedure, shall select applicants who have the relevant skills and abilities, including a capacity for impartiality, and who reflect the diversity of Ohio. These shall include the fourteen most qualified applicants affiliated with each of the two largest political parties, and the fourteen most qualified applicants who have been unaffiliated with either of these political parties during the prior five years. The selection of potential members shall require the affirmative vote of at least five of the eight judges. The two largest political parties shall be determined based on the votes received by the candidates for Governor in the most recent gubernatorial election.
D. On or before August 15 of the year that the decennial census is conducted, the speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives and the highest ranking member of the House not of the same political party as the speaker may each respectively eliminate up to three of the fourteen potential members affiliated with the largest political party, up to three of the fourteen potential members affiliated with the second largest political party, and up to three of the fourteen potential members not affiliated with either of these parties. This shall result in a final pool of not less than twenty-four potential members of the Commission.
E. From the final pool of potential members, the panel of eight judges, or their designee, shall choose by lot, and in public, three individuals affiliated with each of the two largest political parties and three individuals not affiliated with either of these parties to serve as members of the Commission. On or before October 1 of the year that the decennial census is conducted, these nine members shall meet
to select from the final pool of potential members three additional members, which shall include one member affiliated with the largest political party, one member affiliated with the second largest political party, and one member not affiliated with either of these parties. In selecting the final three members, the members of the Commission shall seek a total commission membership that reflects the diversity of Ohio and that has the relevant skills and abilities, including a capacity for impartiality, which will allow the Commission to fulfill its responsibilities. The nine members selected by lot and the three additional members selected by the original nine members shall comprise the full Commission.
F. No member of the Commission shall be subject to removal by the general assembly or any member of the executive branch.
3. Require new legislative and congressional districts be immediately established by the Commission to replace the most recent districts adopted by elected representatives, which districts shall not be challenged except by court order until the next federal decennial census and apportionment. Affirmative votes of 7 of 12 Commission members are needed to select a plan. In the event the Commission is not able to determine a plan by October 1, the Ohio Supreme Court would need to adopt a plan from all the plans submitted to the Commission.
4. Repeals current constitutional requirements for drawing legislative districts that avoid splits to counties, townships, municipalities and city wards where possible, and when not possible, limiting such divisions to only one division per governmental unit, and also repeals requirements to form as many whole legislative districts solely within a county as possible. The foregoing would be replaced and require the Commission to adopt a plan that complies with all applicable federal and state constitutional provisions, federal statutory provisions, and the contiguity requirement and that most closely meets the factors of community preservation, competitiveness, representational fairness, and compactness. The Commission would also be required not to draw or adopt a plan with an intent to favor or disfavor a political party, incumbent, or potential candidate.
5. Mandate the General Assembly to appropriate all funds necessary to adequately fund the
activities of the Commission including, but not be limited to, compensating:
C. Legal counsel
D. Commission members
If approved, the amendment will be effective thirty days after the election.
Shall the measure be approved?