Legislative Watch – January 26, 2022

State Legislative Maps Heading Back to Court

On Saturday, January 22, 2022, the Ohio Redistricting Commission passed revised state legislative maps. The Ohio Supreme Court ruled earlier this month that the first, highly partisan maps passed by the Commission were unconstitutional because they were gerrymandered in favor of Republican candidates. The Court said the maps violated the provision of the voter-approved constitutional amendment that districts should closely correspond with the Ohioans’ voting preferences.

Once again, the revised maps were passed by a 5-2 party line vote. Although the revised maps come closer to the Court’s stated measure of Ohioans’ voting preferences (54% Republican to 46% Democrat), they still fall short. Fifty-seven of 99 House seats and 20 of 33 Senate seats were drawn to favor Republicans. Further, the Democratic leaning districts were highly competitive while the Republican districts were significantly less competitive.

Plaintiffs objected to the new maps Tuesday. In the filing made by the League of Women Voters of Ohio and other groups, they argue that the proposed maps still fail to comply with the Constitution. The plaintiffs also argue that there were plans submitted to the Commission that would comply with the Court’s order, but the Commission ignored them. The Court has ordered the Redistricting Commission to file a response to the complaint by noon Friday.