Late last night, the Ohio Supreme Court struck down gerrymandered state legislative maps adopted by the Ohio Redistricting Commission on February 24, 2022. The court found the invalid maps were drawn to unduly favor the Republican party and thus violated Ohio’s new redistricting rules added to the Ohio Constitution in 2015.
Statement of Common Cause Ohio Associate Director Mia Lewis
Today, the Ohio Supreme Court struck down the third set of state legislative maps drawn by the Ohio Redistricting Commission, once again taking a stand for the Ohio Constitution and all Ohio voters.
The decision is no surprise, as this third set of maps was rigged to favor one party in exactly the same way as the previous set of maps struck down by the court. The Commission once again created maps where almost half of the seats in the “D” column were in fact toss-ups, while almost all the “R” seats were safe and secure.
The GOP Commission members were so set on maintaining an unfair advantage for their party, they opted to contradict the Court’s instructions and thumb their nose at Ohio voters a third time. This irresponsible and unconstitutional gambit has cost the state its May 3rd primary. Never mind. A delayed primary is a small price to pay for constitutional maps that could last a decade.
The Court saw through the majority Commission members’ attempted sleight of hand and was having none of it. They once again reiterated that rigging the maps to favor one party over another is no longer allowed and will not be tolerated. Ohioans did not vote to put an end to gerrymandering by an overwhelming margin only to have those aspirations foiled by brinksmanship and bluster.
In their ruling, the Court instructs the Commission to use an independent map drawer, and to create their new maps through a transparent process. Thank goodness! Three strikes and you are definitely out. Ohioans have no more time to waste on a secretive and partisan process that results in a gerrymandered map time after time.
Majority members of the Commission need to understand: the days of slicing and dicing Ohio communities to tip the scales in favor of one political party are well and truly over. Voters have had enough of political gamesmanship, no matter how much one party may want to continue gerrymandering to win elections. Only by drawing fair maps can we move forward towards an election where every Ohio voter has their voice heard.