Ohio Ballot Board Lengthens Description Of Issue 2

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The Ohio Ballot Board met Thursday to rework its description of Issue 2.

That would change the process for shaping congressional districts.

The Ohio Supreme Court calls the original ballot language for the redistricting proposal "defective," saying it "misleads voters."

The Court said the state had to come up with a new description of Issue 2.

That sparked a war over words between the members of the Ballot Board.

The Republicans argued the only way to be clear was to put more of the exact wording from the constitutional amendment on the ballot.

"We can either put the complete language or we can do a summary," said Republican Sen. Keith Faber. "But if you do a summary, you have to make sure you don't get it wrong. Well, in this time period, at this crunch, my fear is that if we do a summary, we're going to get it wrong because frankly, I didn't draft the confusing selection process that's in the constitutional amendment."

Including that part added more than a page and doubled the length of the text that will appear on the ballot.

The Supreme Court decision came after Voters First, the group behind Issue 2, sued the Ballot Board.

Organizers say they're still unhappy with the wording.

"It's going to take voters a long time to wade through some of the more technical language in the beginning of the ballot language," said Ann Henkener of Voters First, "and you're going to have to be very persistent and stand in the voting booth for a really long time to get to what the court described as the core of the issue, which is the criteria, which is getting politically-neutral districts."

Republicans are favored in the new districts that take effect this election.

They also control the Ballot Board.

Republicans blocked several amendments by the two Democratic members and then passed the new language.

Michael Locklear is a fellow in Ohio University's E.W. Scripps School of Journalism Statehouse News Bureau.