Voters First Ohio Moves Along, Personhood Crashes and Burns
I returned to Ohio after the holiday to some good news: the Voters First Ohio campaign for fair districting turned in 450,000 signatures, more than the required 385,000. And while this may not be enough to get 385,000 valid signatures, it means that the petition drive can push ahead and collect more signatures while the ones turned in are being validated. That's approximately another three weeks — and a good three weeks it is, being the peak of summer, with lots of outdoor events that attract big crowds.
If you want to help, or if you want to sign, go here:
We need your signature, and if you can circulate a petition — or even take a petition and have family and friends sign — so much the better.
I will continue to post signing opportunities as I hear about them. This is important. According to the Dayton Daily News, right-wing Cincinnati state rep. Lou Blessing is calling the process of trying to bring fair, nonpartisan districting that favors communities over politicians “a sham and a charade” that could never be totally independent. You know if he dislikes it, it's got to be good.
I also have something to say about the "can't be truly independent" crap I've also heard from a couple of progressives. In their case, we're back to that old thing about letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. There is a complicated system for choosing the 12 members of the citizens commission that will do the districting that bans elected officials, party officials, lobbyists and campaign donors. Could a dedicated partisan slip though? Sure. But one of the checks on the damage they could do is that this commission would have specific guidelines relating to compactness, contiguity, cohesiveness and competitiveness of districts.
The other is the 12-member make up: each major party would get only four members, leaving any extreme faction outnumbered, with the four independents/third-party members serving as a buffer (and since the Libertarian Party is supporting Voters First Ohio, expect some of them to apply for membership to the commission).
There is way too much that is positive about this to dismiss it, unless you like corrupt government and rigged elections (and we know some do!). One is that the commission would accept and consider ideas from the public, such as the 53 maps submitted to DrawtheLineOhio, every one of which was ranked fairer to voters than the final map we got.
The other is that all the meetings and deliberations of the commission would have to be made public. One of the most outrageous aspects of the current districts is that the line drawing was not even actually done by the group of elected officials tasked with the job, but rather by a team put together by Congressman John Boehner, which functioned in secrecy. It suddenly emerged with a map that it tossed like a grenade into the legislature, which had less than two days to familiarize itself with it before voting on it. There was no time for the public to comment. That's a travesty of democracy and borderline unconstitutional.
Please join the effort. Again, that's http://action.votersfirstohio.com/page/content/events/
Let's eliminate these absurd new districts for 2014.
Meanwhile, providing a little levity, apparently Ohioans aren't any more eager to embrace the radical attack on women that is "personhood," the effort to declare every fertilized egg a "person" with the full rights of any born male human being. Women, of course, would massively lose their rights. As we mentioned last week, the Dispatch reported that Personhood Ohio had only 20,000 of the 385,000 signatures going into the deadline, although they hopefully said they were "still counting" and hoping for a miracle, I guess.
Apparently, Jesus doesn't love their efforts all that much and didn't bring them a miracle. In the end, they only turned in 30,000 signatures.