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Dems Condemn Unconstitutional State Legislative Maps Drawn in Secret by GOP Commissioners

March 29, 2022
Democratic Newsroom

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 a statement after the majority of Commissioners subverted the bipartisan, transparent map-drawing process ordered by the Ohio Supreme Court, instead introducing and adopting a set of state legislative maps that were drawn in secret by majority commissioners. The Republican maps fail to comply with the Constitution and Court requirement that maps must reflect the statewide preferences of Ohio voters who voted 54% Republican and 46% Democratic over the last 10 years. Republican commissioners forced a vote on the secret partisan maps before the Commission could review the final draft maps drawn by the independent map makers. 

“The majority commissioners purposely wasted another opportunity to adopt constitutional, proportional maps,” Sykes said. “This ridiculous diversion is insulting to voters and comes at a considerable expense to Ohio taxpayers. We made a historic move toward transparency, but Republicans chose to hijack the process. There seems to be no end to the arrogance of the supermajority.”

Republican commissioners rejected a motion by Democrats to adopt the final draft maps drawn by the independent map makers. 

“These Republican maps are a complete and utter farce. It is an absolute slap in the face to the voters, the Court and the Constitution that the majority of commissioners adopted these gerrymandered maps today,” Russo said. “Republican commissioners chose their own partisan power over the Ohio voters they have a duty to represent. It is abundantly clear that Republicans lack the political will, not the ability, to adopt constitutional maps.”

From the beginning, Democrats pushed for a bipartisan, open and transparent map-drawing process. Historic progress was made toward this goal during this round of the redistricting process by holding daily meetings, hiring independent map drawers, retaining mediators to aid in meeting consensus on contentious issues and livestreaming the entire map-drawing process to the public.

In its March 16 ruling, the Ohio Supreme Court ordered the Commission to draw an “entirely new” set of state legislative maps. The independent mapmakers drew several versions of constitutional, proportional maps that uphold the Supreme Court’s rulings. However, at the eleventh hour, Republican commissioners chose to abandon the bipartisan, transparent work of the independent map drawing process in favor of their partisan plan – with minor revisions to their most recently invalidated maps adopted Feb. 24. 

The partisan plan adopted by the majority of the commissioners contains 17 Democratic-toss up districts in the House between 50-52% partisan share and zero Republican districts within the same range. The Senate map is equally lopsided, with six Democratic Senate districts falling between 50-52% and zero Republican districts in the same range. The asymmetry found in the latest plan is a nearly identical gerrymander to the plan overturned by the Ohio Supreme Court of Ohio just 12 days ago.