Columbus Fair Elections Plan

Why Make Changes to our Elections?

  • Because 35 of the last 39 council members were initially appointed to office, rather than elected (and 4 of the current 7 were city government employees immediately prior to their appointment), and then run for election from a position of undeserved incumbent advantage … we seek to ensure members are put in office by voters — not selected by other politicians.
  • Because Columbus is the only big city (top 50 cities) to maintain racially discriminatory at-large elections, which are strongly discouraged by the Voting Rights Act of 1965 … we move to the more common and contemporary form of district-based political representation.
  • Because the NAACP Legal Defense Fund strongly challenged the fake districting plan put up by council in 2017 (9 members each of whom lives in a district, and all of whom are elected at-large) … we create a transparent elections, rather than hiding a-large elections behind a facade of districts.
  • Because at-large (city-wide) elections are prohibitively expensive (860,000 citizens spread across 240 square mile) and require big dollars to finance campaigns … we seek to create smaller electoral districts where candidates can afford to compete without big corporate dollars.
  • Because council members elected citywide do not have the time or attention to look after, understand, and advocate for the +/- 250 unique neighborhoods in the city ,.. we create 9 council districts and make each member accountable to the voters of their district.

The Columbus Fair Elections Plan

  • We create a council with 9 council districts for the 2021 elections.
  • Members must live in one of the 9 districts, and will be elected by voters in their district.
  • 9 members will be elected in 2021, one must live in each of the 9 districts, and all will be elected by residents of the district in which they reside.
  • We create an independent districting commission to draw fair boundaries after each decennial census (beginning in 2023).
  • We end the process by which council appoints itself, by requiring nominations for a person to fill a council vacancy to come from that district’s neighborhood groups, for anyone seeking to be anything other than a placeholder until the next election.
  • We put a 12 year term limit on council member service.