The Hill — A measure to reform the way Ohio draws its congressional district lines has cleared a key procedural hurdle, likely setting up a ballot initiative in next year’s midterm elections.
The Ohio Ballot Board, headed by Secretary of State Jon Husted (R), gave formal approval to language that would appear alongside the initiative. That gives supporters the ability to begin collecting signatures to place the initiative on the ballot.
But those backers are not optimistic that they can collect the 305,591 valid signatures required to get the measure on the ballot this year. They would have to collect those signatures by July 5, just five weeks from now.
Ohio rules require supporters to gather signatures from half of the state’s 88 counties. They must collect a number of signatures equal to 5 percent of the total number of votes cast in the last gubernatorial election in each of those 44 counties.
While backers aren’t optimistic about their chances this year, the Ballot Board’s decision to ratify language gives redistricting reformers the chance to get a head start on collecting signatures ahead of next year’s deadline.