For immediate release: September 15, 2021
COLUMBUS– Leaders of the Fair Districts Ohio coalition expressed disappointment and dissatisfaction over the newly approved Ohio House and Senate district maps and the Ohio Redistricting Commission’s process to approve the maps over intense public criticism. At nearly midnight, the Ohio Redistricting Commission voted to approve extreme gerrymandered maps along partisan lines that will be enacted for four years.
“Ohio voters expected a transparent process with public deliberation,” said Catherine Turcer of Common Cause Ohio. “The Ohio Redistricting Commission heard from hundreds of Ohioans about their frustration with backroom deals and the need for greater transparency. Rather than responding to the criticism, the Commission met briefly this morning and recessed for further negotiation out of the public eye. The Commission didn’t reconvene until forty-five minutes before the midnight deadline and then enacted a map along party lines that disregards the letter and spirit of the reforms passed in 2015. We are disappointed in both the process and the result.”
“The Ohio Redistricting Commission missed a momentous opportunity to restore faith in our democratic republic,” said Jen Miller of the League of Women Voters of Ohio, “Ohioans passed redistricting reform in 2015 and 2018 with over 70% of the vote and then showed up in droves pleading for a transparent, bipartisan process that would result in fair, representative maps. Instead, Ohioans got more of the same: a breakdown in the bipartisan process and maps that serve the short-sighted interests of political parties, not voters. Ohioans deserve better.”
Fair Districts Ohio is still reviewing the Ohio House and Senate maps and considering next steps, including possible litigation and ballot initiatives in the future. In the meantime, Fair Districts Ohio calls upon Ohio lawmakers to begin a more transparent and deliberative public process that results in bipartisan Congressional districts that keep communities together and put the needs of voters first.
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