Issue 2: A huge issue in Ohio, not getting much attention - Cincinnati News, Weather, Sports from FOX19 NOW-WXIX

Issue 2: A huge issue in Ohio, not getting much attention


When you vote between now and next Tuesday night, you'll see Ohio Issue 2 on the ballot. You'll be forgiven if you haven't heard much about it. Most people haven't, with so many ads and news stories focusing on what the presidential candidates say they'll do for Ohio.

But Issue 2 is very important because it could determine who represents you in Washington.

Union workers and volunteers at the I.B.E.W. hall in Cincinnati know this. They gather there mid-morning these days before going out to knock on doors urging people to vote for Pres. Obama, Senator Brown, and Issue 2. Those three specific items are part of their pitch, according to union organizer Charlie Kenser.

"What you have right now is essentially a situation where the politicians are picking their own constituents instead of the other way around," he said.

The union accuses leaders of both parties of re-drawing districts so their side has an easier chance of getting a member of Congress re-elected.

"It's just amazing when you look at the map that you think, how was that part of that district? It's nowhere close or that city is completely split in half," said the I.B.E.W.'s Dana Davis.

As an example, he and Kenser point to U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot's (R-Cincinnati) district, which they say was drawn to purposely leave-out a huge chunk of minority voters, who usually vote Democratic, in the eastern part of town.

Unions like the I.B.E.W. want Ohio voters to approve Issue 2 on Election Day to create an independent commission that would have the power to re-draw those boundaries. However, in FOX19's commitment to balanced news, we should point out that critics say this commission is an even bigger mess waiting to happen.

"The plan itself has a lot of unknowns in it as it relates to the budget, as it relates to who can participate in the commission," said Matt Davis, VP of governmental affairs for the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce, which is urging its members to vote no on Issue 2. "Also, what's really troubling is, that there's no provision for pulling somebody off of the commission if they're convicted of a crime or any sort of ethics violation."

I.B.E.W. organizers say something has to be done to make sure districts are based more on geography than the demographics a particular party appeals to.

"All we want is fairness," said Kenser. "People can still vote any way they want."

An article in the Dayton Daily News says Issue 2 is "confusing voters." That paper, and an op-ed in the Columbus Dispatch, point-out that members of the 12-person commission would be chosen randomly --- after a group of appellate judges pick who they like and leaders from both parties get to eliminate several they don't like.

Opponents like to claim that the commission that Issue 2 would create could be dangerous to the state's bank account. They say they're concerned the way Issue 2 is written the commission would be given a "blank check" to demand high salaries and a bloated budget. However, the state supreme court found that claim to be false, according to PolitiFact Ohio.

In addition to the links in the paragraph above, you can find more information about Issue 2 on Ballotpedia, as well as read the full text of Issue 2, see how it appears on the ballot, as well as read arguments for and arguments against Issue 2 on the Ohio Secretary of State's website.

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