COLUMBUS, Ohio — Today, the ACLU of Ohio, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Covington & Burling LLP filed objections to the “fifth” set of legislative district maps, adopted by the Ohio Redistricting Commission on Thursday, May 5. The Ohio Supreme Court had struck down these exact maps on April 14, and ordered the Commission to adopt entirely new General Assembly maps by May 6. The Commission delayed holding any meeting for nearly 3 weeks - until May 4. Senate President Matt Huffman and House Speaker Bob Cupp stepped aside and appointed Senator Rob McColley and Representative Jeff LaRe in their stead. These objections were filed on behalf of the League of Women Voters of Ohio, the A. Philip Randolph Institute, and several individuals.
“We are living in a state of political and legal déjà vu. Frankly, we are disgusted by this level of arrogance, and disrespect from Ohio elected officials, who delayed meeting until the 11th hour, voted down a motion to finalize and enact the valid plan before it, and instead reenacted the exact same plan that the Ohio Supreme Court had previously stricken as an unconstitutional gerrymander. We ask the Court to reject this fifth attempt to gerrymander Ohio’s legislative districts,” noted Freda Levenson, legal director for the ACLU of Ohio. “This map should be stricken on exactly the same grounds as the previous, identical version.”
“It’s time for the majority members of the Ohio Redistricting Commission to stop behaving as though they are above the law. The Ohio Constitution and our representative democracy are sacred. We call on the Ohio Supreme Court to continue defending the rights of voters by rejecting gerrymandering,” stated Jen Miller, Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio.
“The Redistricting Commission waited almost three weeks to reconvene, held two hearings, and then ultimately adopted a map that was already struck down by the Court. We are deeply disappointed that this has turned into a political charade. This is the opposite of what voters meant when they asked for a fair, bipartisan redistricting process,” offered Andre Washington, president of the Ohio A. Philip Randolph Institute.
The groups ask the Ohio Supreme Court to invalidate the plan.
Read the order below.