Legislative Watch – September 10, 2021

Redistricting Commission Produces a more Gerrymandered Map than Current One, Defying the Will of the People

On Thursday, the Ohio Redistricting Commission introduced legislative maps created by staffers for the Senate and House Republicans. These maps were adopted by the Commission 5-2 on a party-line vote as a “starting point.” This plan is wholly inadequate and fails to meet the demands of the Constitutional amendment passed by voters to end partisan gerrymandering.

In 2015, Ohioans voted overwhelmingly to approve an amendment to the state Constitution on redistricting. The amendment created the bipartisan Redistricting Commission and established rules for drawing legislative districts. A bipartisan agreement is needed for the maps to go into effect for 10 years. Otherwise, a simple majority of members of the Commission can enact a four-year map.

There are two fatal flaws with the current proposal. First, the Constitution calls for the statewide proportion of districts favoring each political party correspond closely with the statewide preferences of the voters (i.e. representational fairness). In statewide elections over the last 10 years, Republicans have averaged approximately 55% of the vote while Democrats have averaged 45% of the vote. Therefore, the districts that favor each party should fall roughly on those lines. The proposed plan under consideration brazenly would have two-thirds of the House and Senate districts favoring Republicans—a veto-proof supermajority. Secondly, the Constitution requires that the plan comply with federal law. The Voting Rights Act requires that communities of color have real pathways to political representation. The staffers who produced the map testified that they were instructed by legislative leaders not to take race or ethnicity into account in drawing district lines. This will likely dilute the political voices of minority populations in Ohio – a violation of federal law.

Members of the Commission maintain that they still want a 10-year map and will work over the next few days for a compromise. The Constitutional deadline is September 15th. It is critical for state leaders to put politics aside and give the voters of Ohio what they voted for—fair maps. Time is running out.

What Can You Do? Take Action to tell the Commission We Demand Fair Maps:

  1. Click here to send an email demanding fair maps.
  2. Provide written testimony by sending it to testimony@redistricting.ohio.gov or attend a Commission hearing:
    Sunday at 4pm – Dayton
    Washington Township Recreation Center
    895 Miamisburg Centerville Rd
    Dayton, Ohio 45459

    Monday at 4pm – Cleveland

    Corporate College East
    4400 Richmond Rd
    Warrensville Heights, OH 44128

    Tuesday at 10am – Columbus
    Ohio Statehouse
    1 Capitol Square
    Ohio House Finance Hearing Room (Room 313)
    Columbus, OH 43215

If you have questions or need information about how to testify, contact Robert Davis in OEA Government Relations: davisr@ohea.org