COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio Supreme Court rejected newly drawn district maps on Wednesday that had retained Republican supermajorities in both chambers of the state Legislature, agreeing with voting rights advocates that the lines were unconstitutionally gerrymandered.
The court sent the maps back to the Ohio Redistricting Commission, giving the GOP-led panel 10 days to take another crack at complying with provisions of a 2015 constitutional amendment requiring an attempt at avoiding partisan favoritism. Justices also retained jurisdiction over whatever maps the panel comes up with.
The maps of the Ohio House and Ohio Senate strongly favored the Republican party, though Ohio’s political mix is 54% Republican, 46% Democratic.
Moderate Republican Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, who at 70 years old must leave the court Dec. 31 due to age limits, provided a pivotal swing vote, joining the court’s three Democrats in a victory that impacts all three lawsuits against the maps brought on behalf of Ohio voters by a host of national groups, including the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, the ACLU, the League of Women Voters, CAIR-Ohio, the Ohio Organizing Collaborative and the A. Philip Randolph Institute.
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