WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Tuesday, Sept. 19, Democrats on the Ohio Redistricting Commission released their proposals for the state’s legislative maps.
Ohio Senate Minority Leader Nickie J. Antonio (D) and Ohio House Minority Leader Allison Russo (D), the two Democrats on the commission, announced the maps in a press conference this morning. Russo said they believe their maps “are constitutional, proportional to reflect Ohioans’ voices and votes, and are the best way forward to serve all of us.”
The House map would feature 43 Democratic districts, while the Senate map would contain 14 Democratic districts, compared to 56 and 19 Republican districts, respectively. That’s a far cry from the state’s current legislative makeup, where Democrats hold just 32 House seats and seven Senate seats, compared to 67 and 26 Republican seats. The discrepancy is due to gerrymandered legislative maps pushed through by Republicans on the commission. Although the maps were passed and struck down five different times by the Ohio Supreme Court, Ohioans were still forced to vote under illegal maps in 2022. With the 2024 elections coming up, the commission is tasked yet again to produce fair legislative maps, a process that was supposed to begin last week.
The proposed districts would also reduce the number of township, city and county splits and keep communities of interest whole.
The announcement comes as the commission’s first meeting in over a year was delayed because of Republican infighting over picking a co-chair. Antonio pointed out that the delay “hinders progress and obstructs what is meant to be a fair and democratic process” and that “Democratic members of the redistricting commission are ready and eager to get to work on behalf of the people of Ohio as indicated by our introduction of a set of maps today.”
This morning, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost (R) sent a letter arguing that the commission can convene even if co-chairs have not been picked. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) subsequently announced that the commission will meet on Sept. 20 at 3 p.m. EDT.