Ohio Redistricting Commission Has New Chance to Draw Fair Maps After Ohio Supreme Court Strikes Down Second Attempt

COLUMBUS, OH — This morning, the Ohio Supreme Court in a bipartisan 4-3 decision struck down gerrymandered Ohio congressional districts adopted by the Ohio Redistricting Commission on March 2, 2022 and used in the May 3 primary. The court found the map was drawn to unconstitutionally favor the GOP and thus violated the redistricting rules added to Ohio’s constitution in 2018. 

Ohio lawmakers are ordered to redraw a new map for the 2024 elections within 30 days. If they don’t or can’t, the task will move to the Ohio Redistricting Commission, which will have an additional 30 days to adopt a congressional map.

Statement of Catherine Turcer, Common Cause Ohio Executive Director 

Today, the Ohio Supreme Court struck down the congressional map drawn by the Ohio Redistricting Commission. Once again, the court’s majority stood behind the people, the Ohio Constitution and the right for fair maps. 

This decision shouldn’t come as a surprise, as the March 2 map was similar to the first congressional map passed by Republican mapmakers and struck down by the Ohio Supreme Court earlier this year. In 2018, Ohio voters approved a rule prohibiting gerrymandering and the Ohio Supreme Court found that the congressional map passed valued partisan interests over the will of the people. The most recent map made many Democrat-held seats competitive, while almost all the GOP-held seats were safe and secure. 

Unfortunately, Ohio has already conducted a congressional primary. As a result, the Ohio Redistricting Commission’s failure to pass constitutional maps means that Ohioans will not have the representation they deserve in Washington, D.C. for the next two years.

While the unconstitutional districts will be used for midterms, this Court sent an important message to the state legislature and to the Ohio Redistricting Commission: Go back to the drawing board. We call for truly transparent mapmaking and voting districts that will fairly and equitably represent Ohio voters. 

The Ohio General Assembly and the Ohio Redistricting Commission MUST stop playing games with our freedom to vote and start doing their job of drawing fair maps. They can begin by reviewing congressional maps that were created by the Fair Districts Mapping Competition and the congressional map created by the Ohio Citizens Redistricting Commission. The mapmakers should also consider employing independent map drawers like those used at one point during the state legislative mapmaking. They must create the new districts through a transparent process open to the public. 

Ohioans deserve better. Our demand for the obstructionist state legislature is simple: Do not further waste our time. New congressional districts should keep communities together and avoid favoring one political party over the other. 

To the Ohio Redistricting Commission: Please don’t fail us again.