Ohio redistribution cards face lawsuits, congressional deadlines

Ohio’s newly drawn legislative district maps were struck on September 27 by a third lawsuit alleging Republican gerrymandering violated the state’s constitution. Credit: Tom Hanks | Journalist Lantern

Ohio’s newly drawn legislative district maps were hit with a third lawsuit claiming Republican gerrymandering violated the state’s constitution.

The trial was filed Sept. 27 in the Ohio Supreme Court by the Ohio Environmental Council; the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Ohio – which represents the Muslim community in Ohio, according to its website; the Ohio Organizing Collaborative, a group that advocates for racial, social and economic equity; and six Ohioans – Pierrette Talley of Toledo, Samuel Gresham Jr. of Columbus, Ahmad Aboukar of Dublin, Mikayla Lee of Columbus, Prentiss Haney of Cincinnati and Crystal Bryant of Cleveland.

“The Ohio General Assembly should fully represent the black and brown communities of Ohio, not serve as a stunt for a political party,” said Jeniece Brock, director of policy and advocacy for Ohio Organizing Collaborative, in a September 27 press release. Press release. “We need a representative and responsive government that hears the voices of our communities on everything from access to health care, to student debt, to food security and housing. The Redistribution Commission cards essentially ensure that communities of color in Ohio, like mine in Akron, will not have enough seats at the table to make their voices heard. “

The American Civil Liberties Union, the Ohio branch of the League of Women Voters, and the A. Philip Randolph Institute – an organization for black trade unionists – filed the first trial September 23. the second costume was filed on September 24 by the National Redistribution Action Fund – a left-wing nonprofit led by Eric Holder, a former United States attorney general who served under former President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2015.

John Fortney, spokesperson for the Ohio Senate Majority Caucus, said in an email that Holder’s involvement, as well as that of the A. Philip Randolph Institute, is lecturing residents of the ‘Ohio on a “far left definition of fairness.”

The first lawsuit said that in 2015, more than 71% of voters approved a constitutional amendment to end partisanship in cartography in Ohio and encourage a two-party and transparent process.

“In 2015, the people of Ohio released a resounding statement that partisan gerrymandering should have no place in this state. With over 71 percent of the vote — and

across party lines-Ohioans approved a constitutional amendment to end the long legacy of

partisan gerrymandering in Ohio and encouraging bipartisanship in the redistribution process, ”says the first lawsuit.

Republicans currently hold 64 of 99 House seats, according to the Ohio House of Representatives website. They hold 25 of 33 seats in the Ohio Senate, according to the Ohio Senate website.

“A 10-year card can be approved because it takes two votes from the minority party, and since there are two Democrats, they both have to approve the card to be a 10-year card,” Fortney said on September 14. “Otherwise, a four-year card can be approved by simple majority. “

According to the September 27 trial, three state-elected officials from the Ohio Redistribution Commission – Governor Mike DeWine, Secretary of State Frank LaRose and State Auditor Keith Faber – will be represented by the Attorney General Dave Yost. The committee’s two lawmakers – House Speaker Bob Cupp, R-Lima, and Senate Speaker Matt Huffman, R-Lima – have hired private lawyers to represent them.

Aaron Mulvey, spokesperson for Cupp’s office, said in an email that the state was prepared to defend itself in court.

“There is a lawsuit every time there is a new card,” Mulvey said. “We knew this was coming and the state will defend the constitutional maps approved by the Redistribution Commission.”

Cupp and Huffman argued that Republicans are legally justified in winning between 54 and 81 percent of the seats, given that they won 81 percent of recent statewide elections.

In their brief, Cupp and Huffman cite congressional redistribution deadlines, the last of which is November 30, and also refer to an October 30 deadline, by which the committee would be able to draw the maps without the Complete general meeting.

Huffman did not respond to the request for comment.

The Ohio Supreme Court plans to hear oral argument on December 8, the scheduling order granting opponents of the new cards an October 22 deadline to file evidence in court, and October 29 to file a brief summing up their case – while stating officials will then have a Nov. 5 deadline to file their own brief. Those who oppose the cards listed in the lawsuits have until November 10 to respond.

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