CINCINNATI (TDB) -- All announced presidential candidates are receiving identical questionnaires this week from the Midwest Democracy Network, a newly formed alliance of good government groups in Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois and Wisconsin. The candidates are being prodded to produce written answers describing where they stand on government reform issues involving ethics and lobbying regulations, ballot integrity, and whether states should be allowed to redistrict for congressional seats in a time span shorter than 10 years.
Redistricting in years away from the once-a-decade Census headcount is extremely controversial and politically explosive. Texas redistricted under an off-Census plan crafted by former GOP House Majority Tom Delay. Delay's legislative allies drew lines that gave Republicans a lock on the state's U.S. House delegation by eliminating some previously safe Democratic bastions. There was heated litigation, but federal courts have since ruled district lines can be redrawn at any time a state decides they appear to be unbalanced by population.
The Ohio groups in the network are Common Cause Ohio, the League of Women Voters Ohio and Ohio Citizen Action.
Catherine Turcer is the legislative director for Ohio Citizen Action:
"Voters deserve to know where candidates for our nation's highest office stand on issues fundamental to the health of our democracy. Our next president will have a special responsibility for safeguarding democracy at home and ensuring that the United States remains a model of popular self-governance for other nations."
Presidential candidates were told the network plans to release the answers Oct. 31, and that they will not be edited in any way. Spelling and grammatical errors won't be changed.