COLUMBUS – Today, Ohio Redistricting Commission Co-Chair Sen. Vernon Sykes (D-Akron) and House Minority Leader and Commission member Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) issued statements after Republican Commission members adopted a congressional map that unduly favors GOP candidates, and failed to pass by the bipartisan vote required by the state Constitution. Both Democrats voted against the map.
“The anti-gerrymandering reforms passed by the legislature and approved by the majority of Ohioans in 2018 were meant to ensure fairness. To completely disregard the fairness component by rushing to adopt a plan that continues to unduly favor Republicans is both arrogant and absurd,” Senator Sykes said. “We had more time to work together and come up with a fair, constitutional compromise. Unfortunately, Republican commissioners didn’t have the will to do so.”
The congressional map adopted today would create 10 safe Republican districts, three safe Democratic districts, and two “toss up” districts. Since at least 66% of the congressional districts are Republican, the map fails to comply with the Constitution and the Supreme Court requirement that maps must not unduly favor the Republican Party.
“This plan unduly favors Republicans and disfavors Democrats. It is completely absurd that Republican Commissioners believe they are above the law and do not have to meet the anti-gerrymandering requirements enshrined in the Constitution and overwhelmingly supported by the majority of Ohio voters not once, but twice. The only reason we are here today is because the majority commissioners have shown that they do not want to follow the Constitution, the Supreme Court’s ruling, and the rule of law,” said Leader Russo. “Simply put, this congressional map disrespects Ohio voters and ignores the Supreme Court ruling by doubling down on the same level of partisan gerrymandering we’ve been living under for the last 10 years.”
Democrats originally released a revised congressional map plan on Feb. 8, which complied with all constitutional requirements and reflected the preferences of Ohio voters. Republicans provided no feedback to this map proposal. Democrats also offered an amended version to the Republican map proposal today, which was rejected by Republican commissioners.