Ohio Redistricting Commission Approves Second Set of State Legislative Maps

The Ohio Redistricting Commission today passed a second set of Ohio House and Senate maps after being sent back to the drawing board by the Ohio Supreme Court. The first set of maps was struck down by the court as unconstitutional because they violated the Ohio Constitution’s requirement that maps must comply with representational fairness as defined in the constitution. 

The new state legislative maps were passed along partisan lines, and as such, if they pass muster with the court, will be in place for four years.  

The predicted partisan breakdown of these new Ohio House map:  

  • 57 Republican-leaning House districts 
  • 42 Democratic-leaning districts 

Twelve of the Democratic-leaning House seats are highly competitive (toss ups) with a partisan index between 50% and 51%. All the Republican-leaning districts have a partisan index of at least 52%. 

The predicted partisan breakdown of the new Ohio Senate map: 

  • 20 Republican-leaning Senate districts 
  • 13 Democratic-leaning districts  

Similarly, four of the Democratic-leaning Senate districts are highly competitive.  All but one Republican-leaning Senate district has a partisan index favoring Republicans above 54%.   

Clearly, these maps are closer to providing the “representational fairness” mandated in the Ohio Constitution than the ones that were struck down by the court, but they still do not reach the 54% Republican/46% Democratic ratio explicitly called for by the court.   

Statement from Catherine Turcer, Common Cause Ohio

While these Ohio House and Senate maps might be new, the backroom negotiations that produced them are not. As Yogi Berra said, “It’s déjà vu all over again.” 

Voters’ pleas for a fair, transparent, and participatory redistricting process fell on deaf ears. After the Ohio Supreme Court forced state leaders to go back to the drawing board and draw fair maps, Ohioans hoped we would finally get a transparent redistricting process that lived up to the promise of the redistricting reform that voters overwhelmingly passed in 2018.  

Instead, the Ohio Redistricting Commission deliberately cut Ohioans out of the remedial redistricting process. The Commission failed to provide the traditional meeting notices and instead went into recess on Thursday, January 20 around 5:30pm and did not reconvene until Saturday, January 22 after 3:00pm. The Ohio Redistricting Commission ignored calls to provide time for public testimony and only unveiled draft maps to the public – well after most of the decision-making on the maps was apparently completed.   

The Ohio Supreme Court said it best, “We reject the notion that Ohio voters rallied so strongly behind an anti-gerrymandering amendment to the Ohio Constitution yet believed at the time that the amendment was toothless.” Ohioans overwhelmingly approved this new process for drawing fair Ohio House and Senate maps and the Ohio Supreme Court made their expectations clear.  Voters deserve better.