Voters First Ohio: The Most Important Petition You Can Sign Now
Yes, I am fully behind the Freedom to Marry Ohio effort now in full swing to put marriage equality on the ballot next year.
But there's something more important we need to do now.
The Republican trick for rigging elections and preventing progress — enacting discriminatory and hurtful legislation — hinges on three things: voter suppression, unlimited and unregulated campaign money, and rigged district lines that don't merely give themselves more favorable districts but split up communities, move voters around at random, and create districts so disjointed that voters become confused. And when that happens, the next step is apathy and detachment. Bingo! Republicans win.
Voters First Ohio is aiming to change Ohio's appalling district drawing — both congressional and legislative districts. Many, including me, thought Republicans couldn't do more damage to the state than they did after the 1990 and 2000 censuses. But they did. The current maps are travesties.
Voters First Ohio would replace the current system of whichever party wins certain offices every ten years getting to hack up the state in their favor. Instead, it would create a nonpartisan districting commission on which no politicians or party operatives would be allowed to serve. It would function under guidelines requiring district compactness, community unity and, as much as possible, competitiveness in districts. The districts would be drawn to benefit communities and citizens, not politicians or political parties. The 12 member commission would include four registered Democrats, four registered Republicans, and four nonaffiliated or third-party members.
Petitions are out there now. To get on this year's ballot means getting 385,000 signatures by early July, a tall order. But signatures remain good and we can continue to collect and get it on next year's ballot. The advantage to voting in 2012 is that the commission would immediately convene and draw new districts for the 2014 if it passes. I don't know if this would be possible if we vote in 2013, given time constraints, but it's possible. I have an inquiry out about this.
I beg you to find a petition and sign on to this nonpartisan effort. If you can circulate a petition, so much the better. Go here: http://votersfirstohio.org/ You might have better luck though calling your local League of Women Voters, one of the lead groups pushing this amendment.
I will post opportunities that I hear of to sign petitions. including:
Cleveland: tomorrow (Friday May 25) at Zagara's Supermarket, 1940 Lee Road, Cleveland Heights. A LWV representative will be there from about 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Columbus: tomorrow (Friday May 25), 6-9 p.m.
Westerville Fourth Friday Celebration, Westerville Progressive Alliance Booth, North Corner of College Avenue and State Street, Westerville. Hey — that's John Kasich's hometown. Wonder if he'd like to sign
Saturday, May 26, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Upper Arliington Library, 2800 Tremont Road, Upper Arlington
Wednesday, May 30 3-6 p.m.
Upper Arlington Farmers Market, 1945 Ridgeview Road, Upper Arlington, OH 43221(The location is on Tremont Road by the Senior center by the Tremont School and UA Library. Look for the signs on Tremont Road).