Gerrymandering is challenged with Issue 1

Gerrymandering is challenged with Issue 1 (WKEF/WRGT)

DAYTON, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - In two weeks, Ohio voters can overturn the controversial practice of gerrymandering through Issue 1.

“Our mission is to support the rights of voters,” Dayton League of Women Voters Executive Director Susan Hesselgesser said.

For decades, gerrymandering has been a target for Dayton's League of Women Voters.

“When you live 300 miles away from where your representative lives, that's not a representative government,” Hesselgesser said.

Hesselgesser says congressional districts are rigged and voters are fed up.

“I think people are realizing, is my representative representing me, no one seems to pay attention to what I want,” Hesselgesser said.

Issue 1 amends Ohio's constitution, changing how congressional districts are drawn.

Currently, the state's largest political party draws the map.

Issue one would change this by creating a bi-partisan public process, which means both of the largest political parties are working together.

New language makes districts compact, keeping local communities in the same district. It also puts a system of checks and balances in place, allowing more public input.

“The idea of issue one is to involve both parties,” UD political science professor Bob Taft said.

Former Ohio Governor and UD professor Bob Taft says Issue 1 levels the playing field.

“I think we will see more districts where either party has a chance to win,” Taft said.

Republicans occupy 11 congressional seats, Democrats four and one is vacant. A big gap, even with political support split throughout the state.

“People are more tuned into politics now and care more about their vote,” Hesselgesser said.

There's no major campaign against the issue and most state lawmakers support it. Hesselgesser hopes voters say yes at the polls.

“It’s good this is bipartisan legislation that both sides are willing to agree to,” Hesselgesser said.

If Issue 1 passes, districts will be re-drawn after the 2020 census. It could be up to four years, before we see the new districts in action.

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