The Ohio Supreme Court strikes down state legislative maps

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Updated January 12, 2022 at 4:40 p.m.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WOSU) — The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that the GOP-drawn state House and Senate maps are unconstitutionally gerrymandered in a 4-3 decision Wednesday, sending the Ohio Redistricting Commission back to the drawing board. The Ohio Redistricting Commission must take another crack at complying with provisions of a 2015 constitutional amendment within 10 days.

The court ruled new maps for Ohio House and Senate districts must be re-drawn because the current maps do not meet voter-approved provisions of the Ohio Constitution. Those provisions mandated attempts at avoiding partisan favoritism and at proportionally distributing districts to reflect Ohio’s voter mix, which is around 54% Republican and 46% Democratic.

Democratic Justice Melody Stewart wrote the majority opinion with Democrats Michael Donnelly and Jennifer Brunner concurring along with Republican Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor to strike down the maps. Republicans Sharon Kennedy, Pat DeWine and Pat Fischer dissented.

The ruling was a victory for voting rights and Democratic groups in three lawsuits challenging the lines as unconstitutionally gerrymandered.

Jen Miller with the League of Women Voters of Ohio, one of the groups who filed the lawsuit against the Ohio Redistricting Commission over the state maps, said, “This validates everything that Ohio voters have been saying for the last decade, first at the ballot box and then in all the hearings during the redistricting process.”

Miller goes on to say, “The people of Ohio deserve districts that are created for them rather than the short-sighted interests of politicians and parties.”

A spokesperson for Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) said they are still reviewing the opinion which is 146 pages long.

This is a developing story that will be updated as more information becomes available.

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