COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio Supreme Court has rejected a new map of the state’s 15 congressional districts as gerrymandered, sending the blueprint back for another try.
The 4-3 decision Friday returns the process to the powerful Ohio Redistricting Commission, which was already reconstituting to re-draw legislative maps rejected earlier this week.
The court's majority said the map of U.S. House districts was drawn strategically to advantage Republicans.
Ohio voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2018 that set up a new system to avoid gerrymandering.
Voting-rights and Democratic groups challenged the map as “unduly” favoring one party, a constitutional violation. Republicans had defended the map as “highly competitive.”
Statement from the Ohio Democratic Party:
“Once again, the Ohio Supreme Court did what the legislature refused to do – listened to the will of Ohio voters. Any map that further rigs our state in favor of one party over another is unacceptable and we’ll be watching closely to make sure any new maps reflect the fair representation that Ohioans overwhelmingly called for.”
Statement from Sen. Vernon Sykes (D-Akron):
"The Court’s ruling today is another victory that gives Ohioans the opportunity to get the fair districts and fair maps they advocated for. While the gerrymandered plan passed by the majority in November diluted the voting power of racial minorities and Democrats, we now have a chance to create a congressional map that better reflects the diversity in our state and that follows the constitutional requirements overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2018."
Statement from Ohio Legislative Black Caucus President Thomas E. West:
“This has been a great week for democracy and fairness in Ohio. Again, OLBC applauds the Ohio Supreme Court for reminding the legislature that the Ohio Constitution and Ohio voters demand fair maps. As with our state legislative maps, we now have a second chance to produce a bipartisan, constitutional, 10-year Congressional map that ensures all Ohioans are equitably represented. We must not waste this chance to deliver on what Ohioans expect from us – a Congressional map that actually keeps our communities together and reflects the preferences of Ohio voters.”
Statement from Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH):
“The Supreme Court listened to Ohioans and rejected State House Republican politicians’ efforts to draw partisan district lines behind closed doors that rig the system for their own political interests. But let me be clear – it should never have to come to this. Republican politicians in Columbus should have followed the constitutional mandate that voters gave them. Columbus Republicans need to stop wasting taxpayer money and time, and start working for Ohioans.”
PRIMARY ELECTION – The primary election is May 3. The deadline to register to vote in the primary election is April 5.
GENERAL ELECTION – The general election is Nov. 8. The deadline to register to vote in the general election is Oct. 11
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