Voting rights groups sued Ohio over redistributing maps
The American Civil Liberties Union and other voter rights groups filed a lawsuit Thursday in Ohio challenging new state legislative districts created last week by the Republican-dominated commission in what is likely to be a series of confrontations across the country. As the redistribution process unfolds once in a decade.
In a lawsuit filed in the Ohio Supreme Court, rights groups accused the Ohio Redistribution Commission of engaging in “extreme partisan gerrymandering” that violates the state’s constitution in formalizing redesignated districts, which the suit says. It is intended, and will, for the next four years penetrate the Republican veto-proof supreme majority in both houses of the Ohio General Assembly.”
Elora Thomas-Lundborg, a senior staff attorney for the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, said the suit was the first to challenge a statewide redistribution map prepared using the results of the 2020 census. “The Ohio coal mine may be the canary of what we might expect from a partisan-dominated map-drawing process,” she said.
The map was enacted in a party-line vote on September 16, with five Republicans on the commission – including Governor Mike Devin; Secretary of State Frank Larose; Keith Faber, State Auditor; and Matt Huffman, the president of the State Senate—dominated his two Democrats. But Mr. DeVine foresaw a legal challenge.
“We know this matter will be in court,” said Mr. Devin, according to ABC channel News5 Cleveland. “I am not judging the bill one way or the other, it is up to a court. I am sure in my heart that this committee could have come up with a bill that was more clear, clearly constitutional and I am sorry that we did not do.
Ahead of this redistribution cycle, Ohio voters overwhelmingly approved measures to amend the state constitution to limit partisan gerrymandering. A review of the constitutionality of the new map by the Ohio Supreme Court will be the first real test of whether the amendment works as intended.
The lawsuit cites a wide, consistent gap between their share of votes and seats drawn by Republican candidates in the Ohio Legislature over the past 10 years.
Republicans maintained a hammer on their position of supremacy in elections between 2012 and 2020—sometimes controlling more than 65 percent of the seats in the Ohio House of Representatives and 75 percent of the seats in the Ohio State Senate, regardless of their statewide vote. The share may have been over. This decade was only between 46.2 per cent and 59.7 per cent,” the suit said, citing official election results.
Two years ago, a federal court flipped a map of congressional districts that Ohio had used over the past decade, ruling that Republicans had given themselves an illegal partisan advantage that could effectively affect the outcome of federal elections. was predetermined.
Mr Huffman, a member of the commission who serves as chairman of the state Senate, defended the commission’s map in an opinion essay in The Columbus Dispatch last week and alleged Opposing those trying to enforce their own kind of gerrymandering.
“The commission’s map is constitutional and in line with the directions approved under a constitutional amendment passed by voters in 2015,” Mr Huffman said. “Make no mistake, special interest groups try hard to undermine the process by pressuring members to accept so-called ‘representational fairness’.”
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