Ohio AG rejects anti-gerrymandering ballot effort that would create citizen redistricting commission

By: - August 24, 2023 4:50 am

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost. (Photo by Justin Merriman/Getty Images)

The proposed constitutional amendment to prevent gerrymandering in Ohio has been rejected for being “confusing and vague” by Attorney General Dave Yost. This, however, is relatively common for first-time submissions.

Coalition Citizens Not Politicians has put forward a constitutional amendment for the November 2024 ballot.

The proposal creates the 15-member Ohio Citizens Redistricting Commission (OCRC) made up of Republican, Democratic and independent citizens who broadly represent the different geographic areas and demographics of the state.

Read the full amendment here.


Yost’s job is to determine whether a submitted summary is a “fair and truthful” representation of the amendment.

“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 wrote in a letter to the petitioners.

It wasn’t about the content of the amendment, but rather the slight differences from the summary language to the official petition language. A summary, historically, is more condensed than the writing that proceeds.

“The summary provides near-recitations of some sections of the proposed amendment while giving short shrift to other sections,” Yost wrote.

An example of this is shown when the AG quotes the summary’s statement that a bipartisan screening panel must get a search firm to help with candidate review.

Here is the explicit difference:

“Require the Panel to retain the services of a professional search firm to assist with the application and application review processes.”

“The bipartisan screening panel shall engage a professional search firm to solicit applications for commissioner, screen and provide information about applicants, check references, and otherwise facilitate the application review and applicant interview process.”

This is a problem because the summary “diminishes the actual role of the search firm,” Yost said.

The nine outlined problems are “just a few examples of the summary’s omissions and misstatements,” he said. Yost’s letter of rejection does specify what other omissions or misstatements are in the summary.

Read Attorney General Yost’s full letter here.


“It is not at all uncommon for the Attorney General to reject the summary of a petition in this first early stage of bringing a constitutional amendment,” said Citizens Not Politicians Spokesperson Chris Davey. “We believe our summary was accurate. 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.”

The advocates can resubmit as many times as they want.

This article was originally published on News5Cleveland.com and is published in the Ohio Capital Journal under a content-sharing agreement. Unlike other OCJ articles, it is not available for free republication by other news outlets as it is owned by WEWS in Cleveland.

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Morgan Trau
Morgan Trau

Morgan Trau is a political reporter and multimedia journalist based out of the WEWS Columbus Bureau. A graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Trau has previously worked as an investigative, political and fact-checking reporter in Grand Rapids, Mich. at WZZM-TV; a reporter and MMJ in Spokane, Wash. at KREM-TV and has interned at 60 Minutes and worked for CBS Interactive and PBS NewsHour.