COLUMBUS — Today, June 26, the ACLU of Ohio filed an amended complaint in its lawsuit challenging Ohio’s U.S. congressional map as unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering. Earlier this month the Supreme Court ruled on two gerrymandering cases, Gill v. Whitford, and Benisek v. Lamone, from Wisconsin and Maryland respectively, which clarified the path forward for the ACLU of Ohio’s lawsuit, Ohio A. Phillip Randolph Institute v. Kasich. Additionally, new plaintiffs have been added to the lawsuit, including the Northeast Ohio Young Black Democrats, the Ohio State University College Democrats, and the Hamilton County Young Democrats.
“While the Supreme Court punted on the constitutionality of partisan gerrymandering, the decisions gave us helpful guidance on how to carry out our litigation in Ohio,” said Freda Levenson, legal director for the ACLU of Ohio. “We are confident that our complaint is not susceptible to either of the shortcomings that the Court addressed in the Wisconsin and Maryland cases.”
“For decades the League of Women Voters of Ohio has worked against gerrymandering in Ohio, regardless of which party was responsible, because unfair districts weaken our democracy. In the current Congressional map, the packing and cracking of Democratic voters, simultaneously prevents certain Ohioans from having the opportunity to elect candidates of their choosing while also ensuring their votes will carry no weight at all. This lawsuit will allow voters to choose their representatives, not the other way around,” said Jen Miller, Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio, an organizational plaintiff in the case.
Ohio’s map was drawn in 2010 to create a 12 to 4 Republican advantage – and lock it in for a decade - including in 2012, when President Barack Obama won the state. “The gerrymandered map also disproportionately affects minority voters and minority communities and prevents people of color from having a meaningful impact in Ohio politics,” said Andre Washington of Ohio’s A. Phillip Randolph Institute.
“Ohio’s map is one of the most egregious gerrymanders in recent history. The Supreme Court is clearly concerned about the damage that extreme gerrymandering does to our democracy, and we look forward to continuing the fight for a fair and constitutional map in Ohio,” concluded Levenson.
The amended complaint can be read here.