Ohio Supreme Court strikes down GOP-drawn state House, Senate maps

The Ohio Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down state House and Senate redistricting maps drawn by the GOP in a 4-3 decision, ruling that they do not meet constitutional standards against partisan gerrymandering.

The court found that the Ohio Redistricting Commission drew districts in a way that might may not represent the preferences of voters statewide.

“When drawing a district plan, the commission must attempt to meet the standards set forth in Section 6,” Justice Melody J. Stewart wrote in the majority opinion.

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The Ohio Constitution requires the districts to favor political parties in a manner that closely corresponds to the statewide voter preferences shown over the previous 10 years.

The state House map favored Republicans with 67 seats to 32 Democratic seats, while the state Senate map favored Republicans with 23 seats to 10 Democratic seats, according to the court. 

However, the court noted: “All parties agreed that in statewide partisan elections over the past decade, Republican candidates had won 54 percent of the vote share and Democratic candidates had won 46 percent of the vote share.” 

The redistricting maps were approved by the five Republican members of the Redistricting Commission and opposed by the two Democratic members.

The Redistricting Commission must now redraw the maps to conform with the Ohio Constitution and again submit them for the state Supreme Court review.

The maps are set be used for 2022 elections, including the May 3 primaries.

A lawsuit against the GOP-drawn maps was filed by the League of Women Voters of Ohio, the A. Philip Randolph Institute of Ohio, the Ohio Organizing Collaborative and individual voters.