Ellis Jacobs, a public interest attorney from Dayton, will present an overview of the redistricting process that Ohio will be using for the first time this year. We will discuss how it will work and the opportunities for citizens to help get fair maps.
Ellis Jacobs was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio and attended the University of Dayton Law School. He has been a public interest attorney in the Dayton area for 35 years. During that time, he has been involved in a wide range of advocacy. He litigated a series of precedent setting cases to provide access to computers and the internet for low-income communities. The result was the establishment of neighborhood computer centers throughout Ohio.
He has represented communities working for environmental justice in cases that resulted in the clean-up of air pollution from factories, foundries, and incinerators, and prevented the siting of additional landfills in Western Montgomery County. He represented residents of Jefferson Township in their successful effort to stop the treatment and disposal of partially treated VX nerve agent in their community. His advocacy also led to a decision by the Federal Highway Administration requiring the City of Beavercreek to allow the Regional Transit Authority to extend bus service to the Beavercreek Mall area. This was the first time the FHWA found a jurisdiction in violation of Title VI based on a complaint filed by a citizen group.
He has also worked to ensure voting rights for all. He has organized legal observers at polling places, lead successful opposition to legislation that would have imposed a strict photo ID requirement on all voters, and worked on litigation to challenge recently adopted voting restrictions.
He has received numerous awards including the Harvard Civil Liberties – Civil Rights Law Journal award for outstanding work in the public interest, the Environmental Champion Award of the City of Dayton, and the Bantz Community Service Award of the League of Women Voters, and the Peckham Award for Humanitarian Leadership from the Community Action Partnership. He was a recipient, in 2001, of the Atlantic Fellowship in Public Policy which allowed him to work and study telecommunications law in Great Britain.
He is the past president of the Ohio Citizen Action board of directors and has served on many other boards. He is currently a board member of the Universal Service Administrative Company, which administers telecommunication universal service funds for the nation.
Ellis has worked for the Montgomery County Fair Housing Center, the Montgomery County Public Defender Office, the City of Dayton, the Legal Aid Society of Dayton, and presently works for Advocates for Basic Legal Equality Inc.