FEATURED PHOTO: OHIO ATTORNEY GENERAL DAVE YOST
IdeastreamPublicMedia.org, By Karen Kasler-STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU, Posted September 6th 2023
Ohio’s attorney general has rejected the language of an amendment that would take the power to draw legislative district maps away from lawmakers.
The group backing it says it will try again.
AG Dave Yost rejected the summary language of the redistricting amendment from the group that includes Republican former Supreme Court chief justice Maureen O’Connor. That language would appear on petitions that would be used to gather more than 413,000 valid signatures by July 3, 2024.
The group Citizens Not Politicians has proposed creating a 15-member commission made up of five Republicans, five Democrats and five independents. They would be selected at random from a pool of 45 candidates. Those candidates would be nominated by four bipartisan retired judges, who are themselves selected by bipartisan members of the state ballot board.
Current and former politicians, party officials and lobbyists would be banned from serving on the redistricting commission.
The group wants the amendment to appear on the ballot in November 2024.
In his letter, Yost writes: “Having reviewed the submission, I am unable to certify the summary as a fair and truthful representation of the proposed amendment. During our review of the summary, we identified omissions and misstatements that, as a whole, would mislead a potential signer as to the actual scope and effect of the proposed amendment.”
Yost pointed to nine areas of concern in the summary, writing that language on the makeup of the commission was “confusing and vague” and statements about the bipartisan screening panel are “materially misleading.” He also cited missing words and parts that he found to be inaccurate, incomplete or misrepresentations.
Citizens Not Politicians officials say in a statement that it’s not uncommon for the attorney general to reject a summary in the beginning of the process.
“We believe our summary was accurate,” spokesman Chris Davey says in the statement. “But we will review the attorney general’s guidance, will make necessary adjustments, and will collect new signatures with our broad, statewide, nonpartisan coalition of partners to refile as soon as possible, because it’s time for citizens and not politicians to draw Ohio’s legislative maps.”
There have been 37 petitions submitted to Yost since he took office in 2019, and 14 were rejected on the first try, with some being certified later.