Judges Toss Ohio’s Congressional Map, Declaring It Unconstitutional
A three-judge panel of federal judges tossed Ohio’s congressional map Friday, holding that it was a partisan gerrymander favoring Republicans and ordering that the districts be redrawn for the 2020 elections.
The unanimous decision said that as drawn the map violates voters’ rights to democratically select the representative of their choice. It also prohibits the state from holding any other election relying on the current map and gives the state until June 20 to propose an alternative map.
“We are convinced by the evidence that this partisan gerrymander was intentional and effective and that no legitimate justification accounts for its extremity,” the judges said. “The 2012 map dilutes the votes of Democratic voters by packing and cracking them into districts that are so skewed toward one party that the electoral outcome is predetermined.”
In the underlying lawsuit that led to the ruling, Democratic voters, the A. Philip Randolph Institute and other voters’ rights groups claimed the redrawing of the map after the 2010 Census resulted in a permanent 12-4 Republican advantage in the Ohio delegation.
During a recent hearing of the case, a representative of the institute testified that Democratic voters were unfairly placed in some districts and split between others during the map-making process, diluting the party’s political power.
In response, the Republican lawmaker defendants said the map had bipartisan support and that the case is irrelevant because a new map will be drawn immediately after the upcoming 2020 Census.
Attorneys for Republicans said the map resulted from compromise with Democrats and noted that each party lost one seat after reapportionment reduced Ohio’s U.S. House delegation because of population shifts in the 2010 Census.
The delegation went from 13-5 Republican to 12-4, they said.
Ohio Democrat and presidential candidate, Representative Tim Ryan,called Friday’s ruling “a huge victory for the State of Ohio and our democracy.”
“Partisan gerrymandering has become the unfortunate status quo in the United States, and it’s about time we end this undemocratic practice,” Ryan said. “These unfair maps perpetuate a cycle where districts are drawn to benefit the people in power. Ohio voters should choose their representatives, not the other way around. We must still remain vigilant and ensure that state elected officials draw a truly bipartisan, fair map. Fair maps mean fair elections.”
The U.S. Supreme Court is already considering challenges to congressional maps in North Carolina, drawn by Republicans, and Maryland, drawn by Democrats, that plaintiffs claim were partisan gerrymanders.
The Justices are expected to rule on those cases next month.
Earlier this month, a three-judge panel in Michigan ruled that state’s congressional and legislative maps are unconstitutionally gerrymandered, and ordered the state legislature to redraw some districts for 2020.
The judges in that case wrote that GOP mapmakers in 2011 drew maps with the goal of ensuring “durable majorities” for Republicans.
Appeals of both the Ohio and the Michigan ruling are expected.
In The News
WASHINGTON -- Despite changes reflecting the spirit of compromise, Senate Democrats were unable on Wednesday to convince a single Republican... Read More
WASHINGTON -- Despite changes reflecting the spirit of compromise, Senate Democrats were unable on Wednesday to convince a single Republican to vote with them in support of guaranteeing Americans the right to easy access to the polls. As a result, the Senate voted 49-51 to end... Read More
With just two critical weeks to go before Election Day, Republican Glenn Youngkin has pulled into a statistical dead heat... Read More
With just two critical weeks to go before Election Day, Republican Glenn Youngkin has pulled into a statistical dead heat with Democrat Terry McAuliffe. A widening partisan gap in voter engagement and an apparent shift in issue priorities are bolstering the GOP newcomer, a new poll... Read More
WASHINGTON - Senate Democrats are moving ahead with plans to vote on the Freedom to Vote Act Wednesday, despite Republicans’... Read More
WASHINGTON - Senate Democrats are moving ahead with plans to vote on the Freedom to Vote Act Wednesday, despite Republicans’ vow to block the bill. The bill, a slimmed down version of the For the People Act, a sweeping elections overhaul passed in the House earlier... Read More
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic - Political candidates, parties, independent policy groups and their members and supporters in this island nation... Read More
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic - Political candidates, parties, independent policy groups and their members and supporters in this island nation all got a stiff warning recently -- if they campaign outside the prescribed times for that activity they will face fines and ejection from the ballot.... Read More
AUSTIN, Texas - What the Texas Secretary of State’s office is calling a “comprehensive” audit of the 2020 presidential election... Read More
AUSTIN, Texas - What the Texas Secretary of State’s office is calling a “comprehensive” audit of the 2020 presidential election is now underway in the state’s largest Democratic and Republican counties -- Dallas, Harris, Tarrant and Collin. In a brief announcement, the office said it anticipates... Read More
WASHINGTON -- The Federal Bureau of Investigation alongside the Department of Justice is reaching out to election supervisors around the... Read More
WASHINGTON -- The Federal Bureau of Investigation alongside the Department of Justice is reaching out to election supervisors around the country following months of abuse and threats of violence long after the certification of President Joe Biden’s electoral college victory. The DOJ launched a law enforcement... Read More