From the Voters First Team

Every ten years in Ohio, the political party in power has been drawing Congressional and state legislative districts to protect their jobs and their friends.  This year we have seen it reach a particularly disquieting  point (made possible by the convergence of technology and unrestrained political ambition) that politicians are choosing their voters instead of the other way around.  This is of particular concern because if the deck is outrageously stacked in the favor of one particular candidate, general elections become a mere formality and having only the illusion choice (or in some cases only one choice) is the same as having no choice at all.

An excellent example of this happened just this year and resulted in what one prominent Ohio newspaper described as “the most egregious example of gerrymandering” in Ohio’s political history, while another described it as “larceny.”  Even Congressman Regula, an 18 term Republican from Stark County, called the decision to cut up his home county like a Thanksgiving turkey “outrageous”.

Every day, we are seeing and feeling the real impacts of this abuse of power as our state government pushes extreme legislation without regard for the millions of Ohioans it may harms.

Having politicians draw their own lines is like having foxes guard the hen house and it’s time for that to stop.  The politicians have rigged the system and want to keep it that way, but nothing is more important to the future of Ohio than protecting our right to fair and competitive elections.  We must take back our voices and our vote, by taking the power to draw these lines away from the politicians and put it back in the hands of the people.

The League of Woman Voters and several other non-partisan groups have come together to help.  They formed Voters First, a campaign committee that is working to place a Constitutional amendment on the November ballot that will remove politicians from the redistricting process and put and independent Citizens Commission of Ohioans in charge.  Politicians, lobbyists and political insiders will be prohibited from serving on the commission, and everything the commission does will be out in the open for all of us to see.

In order to get the measure on the ballot — so the voters can decide — the group must submit over 386,000 signatures by July 4.  It is a large amount of signatures and the groups is well on their way, but every one of us needs to pitch in and help them make this historic opportunity happen.  Not for one political party or another, but for the future of Ohio.

With your help we can make Independence Day 2012 the day we restore power to the people and declare independence from politicians.

There are only a few days left.  With just a few hours of your time this weekend, YOU can make the difference.  Pick up a petition, get 10 signatures and turn it in on Monday. Getting started is easy, visit www.votersfirstohio.com and find a location near you to pick up or sign a petition.

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