Voters Left with Maps the Ohio Supreme Court Struck Down Twice
Last Wednesday, it was no surprise that the Ohio Supreme Court struck down the fifth set of General Assembly maps adopted by the Ohio Redistricting Commission. These Ohio House and Senate maps are identical to the third set of maps that the same court struck down on March 16.
Unfortunately, that’s not the end of the story. On Friday, ACLU Ohio filed a motion asking the federal court to extend the legislative map decision to June 6, the date that the Ohio Supreme Court ordered for new state legislative maps. This would have meant new voting districts rather than using maps that have already been rejected. But later that day, a federal panel established Aug. 2 as the new primary date for the state legislative races. Not only that, but they also ordered the state to use the Ohio House and Senate maps created in February (the third and fifth maps created by the Ohio Redistricting Commission.
Sadly, this marks the end for fair maps for this year’s elections. The majority party’s strategy of repeatedly submitting gerrymandered maps while running out the clock has worked well for the GOP members of the Ohio Redistricting Commission.
Ohio voters put new rules into the Ohio Constitution and participated in hearings and provided hours and hours of testimony. The reforms were a compromise AND a promise to the voters. It is clear that those drunk on power prioritized their party’s future over the people’s voices and the Ohio Constitution.
In fact, Sen. President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) described the process this way to the Columbus Dispatch:
“We can kind of do what we want.”
It’s time to take the keys away from leaders who choose party over people. Elected officials have proven that they can’t be trusted with the creation of voting districts.
Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor has a recommendation for us:
“While not free from their own vulnerabilities, independent redistricting commissions have become ‘the premier institutional solution to the problem of partisan gerrymandering’ because they increase the degree of separation between map-drawers and partisan politics. They shift the power to redistrict away from partisan actors who have an incentive to gerrymander in order to maintain or expand their political power.”
We are not done fighting for fair districts and fair elections! Do you support amending Ohio’s Constitution to take the mapmaking away from elected officials? Sign this petition if you agree!