A Busy Week in Ohio’s Redistricting World

It’s been a busy week in Ohio’s redistricting world. A new set of legislative maps were passed by the Ohio Redistricting Commission, and they aim to pass a congressional map next week. Whether those maps will meet the muster of the Ohio Supreme Court is another question.

Below please find some updates and links in our continuing saga. 

Ohio House and Senate Maps

  • On Thursday evening, 2/24/22, the Ohio Redistricting Commission passed new Ohio House and Ohio Senate maps in a 4/3 vote, with Auditor Faber joining Senator Sykes and Leader Russo to vote no. 
  • Because both members of the minority party voted no, the maps would be in effect for four as opposed to ten years.
  • The maps have the same “asymmetry” problem as with the previous ones adopted by the Commission and struck down by the Ohio Supreme Court: a disproportionate number of “D” seats have narrow “tossup” margins while “R” seats are safe and secure. 
    • House: R-51, D-20, tossups that lean D-28
    • Senate: R-16, D-5, tossups that lean D-12
  • ON Monday morning, 2/28/22, all three of the groups suing the Commission issued their objections: LWV et al; Bennett et al; OOC et al.
  • The Commission has until Thursday, 3/3/22, to respond to the objections.
  • We shall see if the court—which spoke explicitly about the asymmetry ruse in its last opinion—upholds or strikes down this latest effort.

Congressional Map

  • The Commission has also turned its attention to a congressional map. In their 2/23 and 2/24 meetings they heard testimony from individuals and group representatives who had submitted complete congressional plans to the Commission. 
  • Catherine Turcer presented testimony supporting the Fair Districts Model Map and Trevor Martin offered testimony refuting claims that had been made about our model map in other testimony.
  • The next Ohio Redistricting Commission hearing on the congressional map is set for Tuesday, March 1, at 2pm. Attend in person in room 313 at the Ohio Statehouse, or join our watch party.
  • REGISTER HERE for the 3/1/22 2pm watch party!

Ohio Supreme Court 

  • On Friday, 2/18/22, the Ohio Supreme Court issued an order requiring the members of the Ohio Redistricting Commission to appear before them at 10am on Tuesday, 3/2/22, to explain why they should not be held in contempt of court for not completing state legislative maps by the deadline set by the court.
  • Later, Justice Pat DeWine announced he would recuse himself from this hearing. He will be replaced by Judge W. Scott Gwin.
  • ​​When the Commission filed the third set of state legislative maps with the Court, Attorney General Yost included a requestthat the contempt of court hearing be postponed.
  • Late Friday afternoon the court issued an order saying the hearing on the question of contempt of court was postponed.

Federal Lawsuit

  • There was a hearing Friday afternoon 2/25/2022 in the lawsuit brought by a group of Republican activists seeking to have struck down maps reinstated by federal courts. For a preliminary take on what happened, take a look at this Twitter thread from Ohio Public Radio reporter Jo Ingles. 
  • On Thursday, 2/24/2022, the ACLU filed a motion asking for a stay in the case. You can read about it in their press release
  • The judge in the case scheduled a hearing on Monday, March 7th, giving the Ohio Supreme Court time to deal with this situation first.

Actions you can take

Watch Parties

Fair Districts has been holding watch parties during the Ohio Redistricting Commission hearings. Thanks to all who have joined! We will continue to hold them next week, but we also encourage you to attend hearings in person to show the commission we are paying attention! Here’s the latest resource sheet from the watch party

Thanks for continuing to fight for Fair Districts in Ohio!