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With Public Unsatisifed By Proposal, City Council Delays Redistricting Plan

Columbus City Council

At Monday's meeting, Columbus City Council voted to table long awaited plans for redistricting the city government. A committee appointed by Mayor Andrew Ginther spent several months preparing a recommendation, but in the end, it did not appear to win the support of constituents.

The charter review committee was announced last year by Ginther and council member Shannon Hardin to research how best to restructure City Council. The news came on the heels of an independent ballot issue, known as Issue 1, that garnered an unexpected amount of support - 19,000 petition signatures, triggering a special election in August 2016.

Issue 1 proposed changing Columbus City Council from an at-large system to one with district representation, but it failed miserably at the polls.

The city committee hoped to devise a compromise to Issue 1. In the end, they recommended adding two additional council members. While the nine members would be elected at-large (by all city voters), each would live in and represent a different neighborhood

Earlier this summer, a number of public hearings were held on the committee's recommendation. Councilman Hardin says that's when it became clear constituents were not satisfied with the option before them. 

"Get it right or get it rushed, and I think it really is more important to get it right before you take something to the voters like this," Hardin says.

Residents told Hardin that they liked parts of the proposal, but that it needed reworking. Advocates from both the right and left criticized the proposal's lack of campaign finance reform - without that, they argued, council changes would be ineffective.

With the November elections around the corner, Hardin says there was not enough time to revise the proposal.