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Ohioans to vote in May on plan to end gerrymandering of congressional districts

Posted at 6:56 AM, Feb 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-07 06:56:24-05

Ohio lawmakers in the state house approved Tuesday a plan for the May ballot to include a proposed constitutional amendment aimed at changing how Ohio draws congressional districts. The house voted 82-10 one day after the Senate voted unanimously to send the constitutional amendment to voters this spring.

The reforms keep communities together by limiting how many counties can be split into different congressional districts while also setting rules for divisions in townships and municipalities.

Republicans controlled the drawing of the seats in 2012 and as a result control 12 of the state's 16 congressional seats with all districts being safe general election seats. The closest congressional battle in 2016 was in southwest Ohio and that was a race decided by 19 percent.

In fact 14 of the state's 16 congressional races were decided by margins of 30 percent or more.

Governor John Kasich applauded the move he had been pushing for some time.

"In redistricting all it does is drive people to the extremes if you're a Republican you worry about a primary from the right if you're a Democrat you worry about a primary from the left. It just polarizes and pushes us out," Kasich told News 5 last spring.

The move also drew a response on twitter from former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who tweeted "Congratulations to my friend @JohnKasich, the Ohio Legislature, and most of all, the great people of Ohio on this bipartisan redistricting reform victory in the fight against gerrymandering. It is fantastic to see leaders put people over politics."