COLUMBUS, OH -- Voters First, the non-partisan redistricting reform effort led by the League of Women Voters, spoke out today against a "by-invitation-only" meeting of lobbyists and political insiders held this morning at a private club in Columbus by a group seeking to oppose the Voters First Amendment. The meeting was sponsored by Protect Your Vote Ohio, a partisan political action committee led by the same people who drew Ohio's highly controversial partisan legislative and congressional district lines.
"Today's backroom meeting at a private club is yet another example of the broken political system where politicians, lobbyists and insiders rig districts for their own benefit--and exactly why we need this reform," said Catherine Turcer, chair of Voters First. "The hosts of this meeting are the same people who spent months in a hotel room they called 'the bunker,' drawing political boundaries to benefit themselves. It's no surprise that they'll say or do anything to protect their own power."
A report released late last year on redistricting transparency contained a series of emails--obtained through Ohio's Open Records Law requests--that show how political operatives rigged Ohio's districts to protect politicians and their own party. Those same powerful political operatives are now actively opposing the Voters First reform, which would take power away from the politicians and create a non-partisan, independent commission of Ohio citizens to oversee redistricting.
"You put the foxes in charge of guarding the henhouse and they simply cannot help themselves," said Ann Henkener of Ohio League of Women Voters. "This group is not here to protect our vote. They exist only to protect their own power."
So far over a half a million Ohio voters have signed the Voters First petition to place the redistricting reform amendment on the ballot for voter approval this fall.
More information on Voters First is available by visiting www.VotersFirstOhio.com.