CINCINNATI – At a time when Democrats and Republicans have never been more divided, Ohio party leaders have found something they can agree on.
It’s time for gerrymandering to go.
The age-old practice of redrawing congressional districts to suit the party in power has drawn the scorn of voters on both sides, and party leaders are finally recognizing that.
That’s why they’re supporting Issue 1 in the Ohio Primary next Tuesday.
“Generally Republicans have been supportive of it at the state level,” said Alex Triantifilou, Hamilton County GOP chairman.
“I think it’s a huge opportunity that we have next Tuesday,” said David Pepper, chairman of Ohio Democratic Party.
“I think voters should be pleased that the parties actually came together for a change to solve a problem,” said Triantifilou.
Issue 1 would fight gerrymandering by requiring congressional maps to have bipartisan support and give the public a chance to give input.
For Elizabeth Brown at the League of Women Voters, this bipartisan support was decades in the making
“We’re very excited about Issue 1. We’re hoping that it will pass,” said Brown.
Pepper says he’s all for it.
“In no job do you do well if no matter what you do you’re guaranteed to be back there, and this is about accountability,” Pepper said.
Be certain, there are some critics on both sides. WCPO reached out to lawmakers against Issue 1 on Thursday and none was available for interviews.
The common criticisms are that the bill would hurt the Republican party, that it doesn’t prioritize minority voters, and that it doesn’t go far enough to stop gerrymandering since it’s still politicians making the final decisions.
But no matter how you spin it, Issue 1 is redrawing lines in more ways than one.
“It’s so unusual to have bipartisan support on these type of things, but I think it tells you that both parties recognize that there’s been an issue,” Triantifilou said.
If Issue 1 passes, GOP party leaders say it will likely cost Republicans more votes than Democrats since they were the last ones to draw the lines.