Last night, the Ohio Redistricting Commission adopted a fifth set of district maps for Ohio after the Ohio Supreme Court struck down the four prior versions. These maps, like their predecessors, continue to gerrymander the state and violate the fair-representation provisions in the Ohio constitution. The maps, known collectively as the McColley/LaRe Plan, would at best perpetuate the disproportionate advantage politicians have under current maps.
The set of maps adopted last night are the fifth that the commission has drawn since 2021, and the fourth under court orders that originated with Ohio Organizing Collaborative v. Ohio Redistricting Commission and similar lawsuits brought by other Ohio organizations and voters. The four previous sets of remedial maps each failed to meet the fair representation standard in the state constitution. The commission’s intransigence left the voters of Ohio with unconstitutional maps and without fair representation in the 2022 elections. (For more background, see the letter submitted yesterday morning to the commission by the petitioners in Ohio Organizing Collaborative v. Ohio Redistricting Commission.) The maps adopted last night will be in place for the next eight years.
In Ohio Organizing Collaborative v. Ohio Redistricting Commission, the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law and Reed Smith represent petitioners Ohio Organizing Collaborative, CAIR-Ohio, Ohio Environmental Council, Ahmad Aboukar, Crystal Bryant, Samuel Gresham Jr., Prentiss Haney, and Pierrette “Petee” Talley. Please attribute the following quotes as noted.
“Ohio voters have been fighting for fair and constitutional maps for the last two years, and we won’t stop now. Yesterday’s gerrymandered map is yet another brazen power grab by Ohio politicians to crack and pack our Black and brown communities, trying to dilute our voting power and prevent us from electing the representatives that we deserve. We can no longer wait for our politicians to do the job themselves. We’re pushing for a fair and independent redistricting process led by the citizens of Ohio who know their communities and will ensure that the will of the people prevails.” — Jeniece L. Brock, Policy & Advocacy Director, Ohio Organizing Collaborative
“The Ohio Redistricting Commission’s decision to pass yet another gerrymandered map is a grave disappointment. Ohioans deserve a healthy democracy and fair representation. We deserve maps designed with community interests at heart that promote environmental justice. The map approved yesterday only furthers a history of dividing communities, especially communities experiencing shared environmental harms. Ohio can do better, which is why the OEC supports all efforts to finally end gerrymandering, once and for all.” — Chris Tavenor, Managing Director of Democracy Policy, Ohio Environmental Council
“After more than a year of hoping the constitutional requirements would be met for drawing districts, we still have legislative districts and congressional districts where communities of color remain divided in ways that either separate them or combine them into districts where they did not share common interests with other communities. The Commission continues to do great harm to these communities by ignoring the racial impact and should have erred on the side of assuring that districts are drawn that do not disenfranchise voters, do not minimize their ability to elect people to represent their interests, and do not shrink the number of districts that could be represented by legislators of color.” — Pierrette “Petee” Talley, petitioner and Executive Director, Ohio Unity Coalition
"In the wake of the approval of the ORC’s latest deeply flawed map, it has become painfully apparent that the redistricting process should be transparent and inclusive, driven by the united will of the citizens, not the self-serving interests of politicians who have no intention of listening to Ohioans. After their many failed attempts it is clear they only intend to rig the process to guarantee their own reelection. At this point only a citizens-led process will bring fair and equitable district maps.” — Amina Barhumi, Executive Director, CAIR-Ohio
“This set of maps and its predecessors say one thing: the politicians on the Ohio Redistricting Commission from both parties can’t be trusted, not to follow the state constitution or honor basic fairness in elections. At every turn, the commission had solid, sensible alternative maps before it, yet it went for the maps that advance a single party and ignore the rights of Ohioans. Litigation can only do so much if the politicians responsible for maps refuse to follow the law. As Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor pointed out in a concurrence, the solution requires removing the power to draw these maps from the people who benefit most from them and giving it instead to Ohio citizens.” — Yurij Rudensky, Senior Counsel in the Democracy Program, Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law
“The Ohio commission has once again adopted a map that violates the Ohio constitution by giving one party more than its fair share of representation. The partisan commissioners have demonstrated that they will put their own political gains over Ohioans time and time again.” — Brian Sutherland, Partner, Reed Smith
- “Ohio Republicans Steamrolling over Fundamental Voting Rights to Suppress Black Voices” by Jeniece Brock, policy and advocacy director, Ohio Organizing Collaborative, Cleveland Plain Dealer
- “Plaintiff: Just like Jim Crow, commission 'robbing’ Black Ohioans of 'political power" by Sam Gresham, petitioner and chair of Common Cause Ohio, Columbus Dispatch
- “COVID Inequities Show Why Ohio’s Fair Map Mandate Must Not Be Ignored” by Jeniece Brock, policy and advocacy director, Ohio Organizing Collaborative, Cleveland Plain Dealer
- “Ohio Take Note: Fairness Is a Universal Value” by Tala Dahbour, policy director, CAIR-Ohio
- “How Gerrymandering Contributes to Environmental Injustice” by Callia Téllez, environmental policy fellow, Ohio Environmental Council