COLUMBUS, Ohio — This afternoon, the ACLU of Ohio, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Covington & Burling LLP filed a new lawsuit challenging Ohio’s congressional map. The complaint was filed on behalf of the League of Women Voters of Ohio and the A. Philip Randolph Institute, requesting that the constitutional deficiencies of the map be remedied in time for the 2024 election cycle.
The Ohio Supreme Court struck down the originally-enacted map on January 14; the General Assembly failed to issue a revised plan within the 30-day deadline set by the court order; and the process returned to the Commission, which enacted a second unconstitutional map on March 2. The Ohio Constitution sets forth this 60-day process to enact a map, and seeking relief for elections after 2022 respects that timeline.
The plaintiffs charge that the Revised Plan violates Section 3 of Article XIX of the Ohio Constitution in two material ways:
- The Republican map drawers cracked Democratic voters in Franklin County. They submerged Democratic precincts on the outskirts of Columbus into a district populated with Republican voters, District 15, a district that sprawls westward, slicing up counties in it relentless pursuit of partisan advantage.
- The Republican map drawers diluted a Democratic stronghold in Hamilton County, by appending a section to Warren County – a Republican stronghold. This transformed a strong Democratic leaning district around Cincinnati into a toss-up.
“Our lawsuit is targeted in scope. While we do have serious concerns with the constitutional violations in Congressional Districts 1 and 15; still, at some point soon, an election will be held. Whether it is held on May 3 or at some later date, it is approaching soon and voters in Ohio are entitled to an orderly election,” noted Freda Levenson, legal director for the ACLU of Ohio.
“This has already been a long road. When Ohio voters overwhelmingly placed reforms for Congressional redistricting in the Ohio Constitution in 2018, they envisioned a bipartisan process that put an end to partisan gerrymandering. After our long and successful litigation, our concerns with the map and process remain, but we also need to have a well-run primary,” said Jen Miller, Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio.
“We ask the court for a practical solution that will deliver a fair Congressional map to voters in the near future,” said Andre Washington, president of the Ohio A. Philip Randolph Institute.
The plaintiffs ask the Court to order the General Assembly and/or the Redistricting Commission to enact a plan in time for the 2024 congressional election cycle that remedies the defects identified in District 1 and District 15.
Read the complaint below.