By Marc Kovac
A group hoping to remove politics from the way Ohio draws its congressional and legislative district lines has collected more than enough valid signatures to place the issue on the November ballot.
Late Monday, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted certified 406,514 registered voters names submitted by Voters First, above the 385,000-plus required to qualify for the general election.
The group also met required threshold levels in 60 counties.
Barring a legal challenge — the Ohio Republican Party and others have questioned whether Voters First’ signature-gathering efforts were legal — the next step in the process will involve the state ballot board finalizing language to be put before voters, as well as arguments for and against the issue.
The November ballot has to be finalized before the end of the month.
Voters First wants to create a new citizens commission to draw the state’s legislative and congressional district lines. The board would include four Republicans, four Democrats and four nonpartisan voters, with eight of the 12 members required to sign off on any districts.
Lobbyists, politicians and large campaign contributors would not be allowed to serve, and districts would be drawn following specified criteria, including district compactness and competition.