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Collecting signatures to end gerrymandering

Good government groups are active in Ohio again, and you might see some of them holding a  Citizens Not Politicians petition. The Citizens Not Politicians initiative is collecting signatures to bring reform to Ohio’s redistricting process. If passed by Ohio voters in November, this change to the Ohio constitution will remove politicians from the process of creating legislative maps and shift that responsibility to citizens through the creation of an independent redistricting commission.

Why is this important? Ohio voters overwhelmingly passed redistricting reform measures at the ballot box in 2015 and 2018 because they wanted to make the redistricting process fair. But those on the Ohio Redistricting Commission didn’t follow the rules.

In 2021 and 2022, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled seven times that the Ohio maps created by the commission were unconstitutional; five times for state maps and twice for congressional maps.

How could this happen? The problem is that the Ohio Constitution doesn’t have a penalty for creating unconstitutional maps. Despite a constitutional mandate requiring an open and transparent process, politicians on the Ohio Redistricting Commission made these illegal maps behind closed doors over and over again. When fair district maps were needed for the 2022  election and had not been provided by the commission, Ohio voters saw it for what it was.

Our politicians were trying to run out the clock. Ohio voters had to vote on unfair, unconstitutional maps in that election. It’s voters who suffer when Ohio maps are not balanced, and politicians aren’t accountable to voters.

The Citizens Not Politicians initiative fixes these problems. It would create a 15-member Ohio  Citizens Redistricting Commission made up of five Republicans, five Democrats and five Independents who represent the different geographic areas and demographics of Ohio. It prohibits current and former politicians, political party officials and lobbyists from serving on the commission. It requires fair districts by making it unconstitutional to draw maps that favor any political party or individual politician, and it requires the commission to operate under an open and independent process that relies upon impartial map-drawing specialists.

Getting an Ohio constitutional amendment on the ballot is difficult. 413,000 signatures must be collected from at least 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties by June. If enough signatures can be gathered, the initiative will be on the November ballot. If voters approve the reform measure, new maps will be created using the new process in time for the 2026 election.

You’ll see signature collectors out at events and going door to door. The important thing to remember is the name, as it says it all: Citizens Not Politicians. Let’s end gerrymandering in  Ohio once and for all. Sign the Citizens Not Politicians petition.

Jenny Fisher is the co-president of the Organization for the League of Women Voters of Oxford. The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

At The Student, we are committed to engaging with our audience and listening to feedback. This includes publishing a diverse array of guest editorials. For more information on guidelines and processes, email Sam Norton, The Student's assistant opinion editor at

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