Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Foley asks the right question on Issue 4 and calls DeWine's bluff
The director of OSU's Moritz Law School's Election Law program asks, "If not Issue 4, then what?":
State Rep. Kevin DeWine, R-Fairborn, who is leading the opposition to Issue 4, admits the current system is flawed. Yet he remains silent on what reform he would propose instead.
No Ohioan should vote against Issue 4 unless DeWine and his Republican colleagues announce a specific alternative to fix the system and, further, pledge to submit their plan to the voters in 2006.
. . .
DeWine and his Republican colleagues should promise to bring the Schwarzenegger proposal, or some close variation, to Ohio voters in 2006. Doing so would demonstrate that their opposition to Issue 4 is in good faith, rather than an effort to perpetuate an unfair partisan advantage.
A well-designed districting system would not require wide swings in public opinion to change which party controls the Legislature, in order to overcome a built-in advantage that the previous majority gets from gerrymandering. Right now, Republicans in Ohio benefit from that built-in bias, but not in California as Schwarzenegger's reform efforts — and the Democratic opposition there — so vividly demonstrate.
This built-in bias is wrong in either state, whichever party benefits. Ohio Republicans, therefore, should honorably follow the lead of their California counterpart and clearly commit themselves to nonpartisan districting.
Absent an unequivocal pledge of this kind, Ohioans should approve Issue 4 as their only guarantee of ending this unfair advantage.