Dan Tokaji's Blog
Professor Dan Tokaji
Election reform, the Voting Rights Act, the Help America Vote Act, and related topics -- with special attention to the voting rights of people of color, non-English proficient citizens, and people with disabilities

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Equal Vote
Wednesday, August 10
Reform Ohio Now (or Not)
A group called Reform Ohio Now is seeking to put three initiatives on the November 8, 2005 ballot that would make major changes to the admnistration of elections, drawing of district lines, and campaign finance regulation. An overview and the text of the amendments may be found here. Among the leaders of the group is Ohio State University political scientist, Prof. Herb Asher.

The first of the three amendments, which so far has received most of the attention, would institute an independent system of drawing legislative districts. It would create a five-person independent redistricting commission, which would be required to draw district boundaries in a manner that would maximize competitiveness. The second amendment would create a state board of elections supervision, which would exercise many of the functions now the responsibility of the Secretary of State. It would also institute early voting. The third amendment would impose limits on contributions to candidates for the legislature and for executive office, including $2000 limits on contributions to candidates for statewide office.

On Tuesday, Reform Ohio Now turned in petitions with 520,789 signatures, according to the Dayton Daily News. This is over 200,000 more than the number required to get on the ballots. But already, the Republican Party -- which controls both houses of the state legislature, and therefore doesn't want to change the current redistricting system -- is kicking in to high gear its efforts to kill the initiatives. The AP reports that the State Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit trying to keep the initiatives on the ballot, but this is sure to be only the first round in the legal skirmishing over the measures.

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