Ohio has taken a number of important steps toward reforming the way we draw new districts in the last few years, and it is continuing that reform effort with the upcoming ballot measure.

One thing is for sure though. Whether it is the current, broken redistricting process, or a new and improved one, any redistricting involving politicians and party bosses will be far better if it happens while all of Ohio can watch them.

Our plan, Keep It Open. Keep It Honest, adds important new reforms in the areas of transparency and accountability. These new reforms will help hold everyone accountable in the future, whether Democrats or Republicans are in charge.

Transparency is key to getting fair districts. One reason partisan politicians were able to rig Ohio in favor of Republicans in 2011 was they were able to draw maps behind closed doors and rush them through before public opposition could develop. Politicians like Dave Yost and Jon Husted worked through the whole process to specifically evade Ohio’s sunshine laws and directed mapmakers working in a secret hotel room, while other politicians like Frank LaRose “voted” yes on maps without meaningful public input.

Keep It Open. Keep It Honest. will close loopholes they used, and ensure politicians and party bosses will never be able to go into a “bunker,” or use the cover of darkness to rig Ohio’s districts again.

Keep it Open and Keep it Honest:

Require Regular Public Reports and Release Actual Draft Maps Under Negotiation in Real Time

Steve and Kathleen’s plan requires legislative leaders of both parties and members of the apportionment board to publicly issue regular, bipartisan written reports and, importantly, to release any draft maps shared with others at regular intervals. Under their plan, the public won’t have to wait for their elected leaders to emerge from a smoke-filled room with a plan.

Mandate Regular Public Briefings and Allow Public Input

Steve and Kathleen’s plan will mandate public briefings detailing the status of the redistricting process. Under their plan, the politicians Ohioans elected to draw the district lines must report to and hear from their constituents — not only from unelected political consultants picked by party bosses.

Require Public Redistricting Meetings with Sufficient Notice and Prohibit Structuring the Process to Meet Only in Secret

The days of “Keep it Secret, Keep it Safe” must end. Last time, map drawers met in a secret room in the Doubletree in Columbus on the taxpayer dime. Dave Yost and others took painstaking care to avoid being in the same place at the same time to avoid triggering open meetings laws. This proposal would specifically make it unlawful to design a plan intended to get around Ohio Sunshine Laws in the redistricting process.

Force all those Involved to Preserve All Redistricting Records and Related Communications

By making sure all documents connected to the redistricting process are preserved, the public can make sure politicians are looking out for Ohioans — not themselves. If politicians look for loopholes and tricks to hide their plans to gerrymander Ohio (including by trying to shield communications through “private” consultants), there will be a trail of evidence to hold them accountable.

Allow the Attorney General to Quickly Bring Violations to a Judge

Rules don’t mean much unless we enforce them. In order to both Keep it Open and Keep it Honest, this plan allows Ohio’s Attorney General to get to a judge quickly, if politicians are meeting in secret or destroying records.

The Plan is also the People

We can’t trust the same people who plotted and rigged Ohio’s maps last time around to do the right thing.

We need an independent Attorney General like Steve Dettelbach, and not someone who is an experienced Gerrymanderer like Dave Yost, to enforce the rules fairly. A Secretary of State like Kathleen Clyde, who is willing to put Ohioans before party, unlike Frank LaRose, is the best protection for Ohioans on the Redistricting Commission itself.