In 2015, over 70% of Ohioans voted in favor of a Constitutional Amendment to end the illegal practice of gerrymandering when drawing legislative maps. Unfortunately, last night the five Republicans on the Redistricting Commission failed to uphold the Constitution.
Richard Gunther, one of the authors of the Constitutional Amendment that passed in 2015, calls the Ohio Redistricting Commission maps that passed last evening “flagrantly unconstitutional,” citing Article XI, Section 6 (B) which says: “The Ohio redistricting commission shall attempt to draw a general assembly district plan that meets all of the following standards:
- (A) No general assembly district plan shall be drawn primarily to favor or disfavor a political party.
- (B) The statewide proportion of districts whose voters, based on statewide state and federal partisan general election results during the last ten years, favor each political party shall correspond closely to the statewide preferences of the voters of Ohio.
- (C) General assembly districts shall be compact.”
The Constitution clearly calls for legislative maps that reflect statewide partisan preference of the voters. However, the maps approved by the Commission completely ignore that criteria, disregarding the will of the people in favor of partisan, political gain.
We will continue to fight for fair districts, which leads to a better Ohio. We will continue to work with good government groups and coalitions as they review the Ohio House and Senate maps and consider next steps, including possible litigation. As the state legislature now begins the process of developing the new Congressional map, we call upon Republicans to follow the Constitution and draw fair districts that keep communities together and put the needs of voters first.