By Marc Kovac
Backers of a constitutional amendment that would change how the state draws its congressional and legislative district lines launched their first television ad Monday with hopes of swaying undecided voters before the Nov. 6 general election.
Voters First unveiled the spot during a press conference near the Statehouse. The 30-second clip was filmed at a Cleveland diner, with narration noting that Issue 2 will give the state “a shot of rooting out the lobbyists and firing the career politicians.”
“It’s impossible to predict how this is going to turn out,” said Brian Rothenberg, executive director of Progress Ohio, citing polling that shows many Ohioans have not yet made up their minds on the issue. “... The good news for us is that we’re on TV as of today. We’re on until the end of the election. They have spent millions of dollars of lobbyists’ money trying to protect the existing system ... and they haven’t moved anywhere in the polls. ... So we are optimistic.”
But Issue 2 opponents, who have been on the air since mid-September, called the new ad misleading and inaccurate.
“The ad is extremely deceptive,” Carlo LoParo, spokesman for Protect Your Vote Ohio, said in a released statement. “Under Issue 2’s rules, thousands of local politicians are eligible to serve on their proposed commission and all lobbyists are eligible to work for this commission. It’s a bit odd that they are asking voters to support a major change in the Ohio Constitution without actually telling voters what they would change.”
Issue 2 proposes a constitutional amendment that would create a 12-member citizens’ commission to reset Ohio’s congressional and state legislative district lines. Paid lobbyists, politicians and large campaign contributors would be among those prohibited from serving, and districts would be drawn following specified criteria that take into account compactness and competition.
Proponents say the setup would remove politics from the process, but opponents say the proposal is flawed and would cost millions to implement.
Both campaigns’ television ads can be viewed on their respective websites at votersfirstohio.com and protectyourvoteohio.com.