Lawyers Prepare For Redistricting Fight In The Ohio Supreme Court
Several voter rights groups are gearing up for a big fight in the Ohio Supreme Court Wednesday morning. The court will hear arguments on the new state legislative maps approved by Republican members of the Ohio Redistricting Commission.
The plaintiffs say the maps retain a GOP supermajority in the Ohio House and Ohio Senate.
Groups, such as the League of Women Voters, ACLU of Ohio, and Ohio Organizing Collaborative, say the legislative maps violate the anti-gerrymandering reforms passed by voters in 2015 because they don't reflect the partisan makeup of the state.
The maps likely split 62 Republican seats and 37 Democratic seats in the House and 23 Republican seats to 10 Democratic seats in the Senate.
In statewide elections, voters have split about 54% Republican and 46% Democratic over the past 10 years.
Alicia Bannon, managing director of the Brennan Center for Justice's Democracy Program, said the maps give Republicans an advantage of more than 63% in the legislature.
"The maps violate the Ohio Constitution's Bill of Rights by violating voters' right to vote on equal terms, as well as their right to freedom of association. And these maps do that in a number of ways. They entrench a veto-proof supermajority by targeting Democratic voters and cracking and packing them into districts," said Bannon.
Republican leaders said they followed the Constitution. They base the proportionality of districts to the number of times a Republican won statewide races, rather than the percentage of the votes they received.
That explanation was characterized as "asinine" by Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R-Ohio) in a text message to staff during an Ohio Redistricting Commission meeting.
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