COLUMBUS — Today the Fair Districts Coalition, made up of the ACLU of Ohio, Common Cause Ohio, League of Women Voters of Ohio, Ohio Council of Churches, and others, issued a letter calling on Governor DeWine to veto Substitute Senate Bill 258, passed this afternoon by the Ohio House along party-line votes. The Congressional map created by the bill is a classic gerrymander that slices and dices communities in order to achieve a rigged outcome benefitting one political party. It is the exact opposite of what voters demanded and won in the redistricting reforms put in place by the constitutional amendment that passed overwhelmingly in May of 2018.
"In 2018, we were so honored to work in partnership with both major political parties in Ohio to secure redistricting reform," said Jen Miller, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio. "The Buckeye State was supposed to be the poster child of bipartisan, transparent redistricting. Instead, Ohio leaders have disrespected voters, trampled the Ohio Constitution, and rigged the Congressional map to serve partisan, political operatives rather than fairly represent Ohioans."
"Governor DeWine alone has the executive privilege, and moral obligation, to honor the Ohio Constitution and veto Senate Bill 258, which artificially inflates partisan control of Ohio's congressional delegation to one party at the expense of another, and will not accurately reflect the people of Ohio in Congress - not by a long shot. We issue this fervent plea because Ohioans desperately need their faith in government restored," added Collin Marozzi, deputy policy director for the ACLU of Ohio.
"Ohioans watched with dismay this week as an entirely new map was introduced as a substitute for Senate Bill 258, and then rushed at breakneck speed through both Senate and House committees, without a proper opportunity for the public to be able to weigh in," said Catherine Turcer, executive director of Common Cause Ohio. "Voters deserve better. In 2018, Ohio voters overwhelmingly approved changes to the Ohio Constitution to rein in gerrymandering. Senate Bill 258 needs to be vetoed because it unduly favors the political party in power, the very definition of gerrymandering."
"Gerrymandering harms all voters, especially those from minority communities," stated Andre Washington, president of Ohio A. Philip Randolph Institute. "We ask the Governor to stand with Ohio voters who overwhelmingly want fair maps and veto this Congressional plan."
"As people of faith, we have a moral obligation to speak out against injustice," stated Reverend Emily Krause Corzine of First Congregational United Church of Christ of Columbus. "Maps that gerrymander erode our common value in upholding human dignity, and so we call on Governor DeWine, as a man of faith himself, to veto this unjust map."
No matter what happens next, the Governor has a moral and legal duty to uphold the Ohio Constitution and veto this unacceptable, gerrymandered congressional map.
A copy of the letter is available. (Please note: This link will take you to a third-party website.)