House Democratic lawmakers from around the state, including Assistant Minority Leader Rep. Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus), Minority Whip Rep. Paula Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo), Ohio Legislative Black Caucus President Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton), and Rep. Jessica Miranda (D-Forest Park), today called on Republican members of the Ohio Redistricting Commission to release draft congressional districts so the Commission can begin working to reach an agreement on a bipartisan 10-year map.
“If we’re to take Republicans at their word that they want a 10-year map, they should call a meeting of the Commission and introduce the maps they’ve been working on for weeks,” said Assistant Leader Boggs. “Otherwise, we’re left to believe they want to run the clock out again and pass another short-term, gerrymandered map that fails to live up to the letter of the law.”
Secretary of State LaRose called for a meeting of the Commission earlier this month. Senator Sykes has also called for additional public hearings of the Commission to solicit public input on the maps.
“We’re calling not only for a Commission meeting, but for Republicans to come ready to introduce the draft maps they’ve been working on for weeks so we can begin to work collectively to deliver fair maps,” said Rep. Hicks-Hudson. “If the Commission fails to act and cedes responsibility back to the legislature, I fear we may be on a course for a four year map, which may be what Republicans intended all along.”
The Commission has until Oct. 31 to pass a bipartisan, 10-year map before the responsibility for drawing maps shifts back to the General Assembly. The legislature can then either pass a bipartisan 10-year map or a short-term partisan map.
“The reforms voters passed in 2018 have systems in place to ensure we have every opportunity to pass a bipartisan map, but that only happens if Republicans are willing to engage the process in good faith. If they are serious about seeing congressional mapmaking work differently than the state legislative maps, let’s get their maps out in the open so Ohioans can see what’s going on behind closed doors. Ohioans and Democrats want bipartisan districts, and it’s not too late for us to deliver,” said OLBC President West.
A number of congressional maps have already been presented, including a proposal from Senate Democrats.
“We’re limiting ourselves if we blow through another deadline without the Commission releasing a map. We saw with the state legislative districts and now with the congressional maps that Republicans have no intention of using a Democratic-drafted map as a starting document—and that’s okay—but we can’t pretend like Republican Commission members aren’t already drawing maps behind the scenes. Show us your work and let Ohioans begin to vet the proposals to ensure they’re fair maps we can all get behind,” said Rep. Miranda.