COLUMBUS, Ohio (WDTN) – The Ohio House of Representatives today voted in favor of passing a reform proposal that will change how Ohio draws its congressional districts.
Representative Niraj Antani says the proposal will curb the legislature’s ability to gerrymander – or redraw electoral boundaries in support of political parties.
“Some of these districts that are drawn pretty crazy won’t be done like that in the future,” Antani said.
“We have this Ohio River district that spans the Ohio River, we have the Lake Erie district that goes from Toledo to Cleveland. That’s not good for democracy. It’s not good for communities to be represented.”
Though he noted it’s not a huge problem around Dayton.
“Luckily here in the Dayton area, our congressional district is pretty condensed,” Antani said. “However you know the other districts – the Boehner, Warren Davidson district – that stretches from West Chester to Springfield. Well that’s pretty silly, West Chester and Springfield are pretty different areas.”
In order for district lines to be redrawn, the proposal requires a certain number of votes from the minority party.
The reform proposal has been under negotiation for weeks with both sides coming together in the end for a final version of the plan.
Antani says it was the widespread bipartisan support that helped push the proposal over the finish line.
“We could have put a republican plan on the ballot but then the democrats would have countered with their own plan and that’s not what this is about,” Antani said. “This is about ensuring that these congressional lines are drawn so that they’re geographically compact, and to ensure that communities are kept together. ”
The Senate voted in favor of the reform proposal on Monday.
Now that the bill has passed the House and the Senate, it will go on to Governor Kasich. If he decides to move it along, it will then be up to voters to approve it or reject in, in May.