Statement of Common Cause Ohio Executive Director Catherine Turcer
In open defiance of the Ohio Constitution and the Ohio Supreme Court, a majority of the GOP members of the Commission jettisoned the work of the bipartisan, independent mapmakers and—hours before the deadline—switched in and officially adopted a set of maps based on General Assembly maps previously struck down by the Court.
Yes votes were Sen. Pres. Huffman, Speaker Cupp, Gov. DeWine, Secretary of State LaRose; Auditor Faber abstained; state Sen. Sykes and Minority Leader Russo voted no.
None of the Republicans on the Commission admitted to having even seen the “parachute option” maps until moments before they were asked to vote on them. The illegality of the ruse was brazen. The clearly unconstitutional maps were passed at 10:18pm. The independent mapmaker Douglas Johnson finished a draft around 10:25pm.
The betrayal and raw political bloodthirstiness of the Republican Commissioners’ action was brought into even sharper focus by how profoundly it contrasted with the mapmaking process Ohioans had experienced during the previous few days. The fourth map drawing process for Ohio Senate and House districts was finally completely different. Ohioans had the opportunity to watch the sausage being made via livestream as independent mapmakers worked to create fair voting districts. Thousands of Ohioans tuned in each day, excited to finally see bipartisan, transparent mapping. Unfortunately, the dream of transparency and fairness came crashing down, when a majority of the Commissioners suddenly seemed far more concerned with a court deadline than complying with the substance of the Ohio Supreme Court orders to end partisan gerrymandering.
There is nothing about the political machinations carried out last night that meets the requirements of the Ohio Constitution. The Ohio Supreme Court stated that the Commission should start fresh, yet the maps adopted were based on maps that had been struck down previously by the Ohio Supreme Court. In 2015, voters called for transparent, bipartisan mapping, and yet, once again maps were introduced at the last minute and passed before the public had the opportunity to digest them.
There is no turning back. Ohio voters have seen that bipartisan, transparent mapmaking can work. Ohioans will continue to fight for fair districts, fair maps, and fair elections until the fight is won.
State legislative maps that were approved on March 28: