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Despite Strong Bipartisan Support, ACLU Will Not Back Redistricting Issue

Mike Brickner of the ACLU of Ohio.
Jo Ingles
Ohio Public Radio
Mike Brickner of the ACLU of Ohio.

The May ballot issue that would change the process for drawing lines for Congressional districts, is getting widespread bipartisan support from Ohio organizations and officials. But there’s one major group that isn’t going to back Issue 1.

Mike Brickner of the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio says his group will not endorse the issue because it won’t prevent gerrymandering on Ohio’s Congressional map.

“It allows the process to devolve into just a single party voting and only getting one party’s approval of the maps," Brickner says.

Issue 1, if approved, would create multiple rounds of map-making that require certain levels of minority party input. The proposal also sets limits for how many times a county can be split, keeping communities together. So far it's been endorsed by the Ohio Democratic Party and Ohio Republican Party, as well as the citizen group Fair Districts Fair Elections.

Brickner says the organization did back the state House and Senate redistricting reform measure in 2015 because it made it harder for the party in power to draw districts that favor the majority over the minority.

But Brickner says his group will not oppose Issue 1 either, because if it passes, it would make some improvements to the line drawing process.

In the case Issue 1 fails at the polls, Fair Districts continues to collect petition signaturesfor a redistricting reform plan of their own, which they'd submit for the fall ballot.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.