Former Ohio House Leader Defends Congressional Map in Court

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CINCINNATI (AP) – A former speaker of the Ohio House is insisting there was Democratic input during the redrawing of the state’s congressional map.

Retired Republican Rep. William Batchelder testified Monday, as a federal trial entered its second week in a lawsuit by voter rights groups that say the current seats resulted from “an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander.” The redrawn districts have held steady at 12 Republicans, four Democrats, with few competitive elections since the remap ahead of 2012 elections.

Batchelder says legislators on both sides agreed early on with each party losing one seat after population shifts in the 2010 U.S. Census caused Ohio to lose two congressional seats.

Those suing say state Republicans dominated the process to build their advantage.

A three-judge panel is hearing the case, which could impact 2020 elections.