WASHINGTON, D.C. — Yesterday, the Republican-dominated Ohio Redistricting Commission released a draft plan of state legislative maps in advance of the Sept. 15 deadline. The initial maps were approved on a 5-2 partisan vote, with both Democratic members of the commission voting against it. To approve state legislative districts for the next 10 years, four of the seven members, including both Democrats, must vote in favor of the maps. If the maps only pass by a simple majority and party-line vote, they will only be in effect for four years.
There is currently a Republican supermajority in the Buckeye State, controlling 64 of 99 seats in the state House and 25 of 33 seats in the state Senate, and the proposed maps likely would deepen this Republican control. In this swing state, however, popular votes suggest that the breakdown of Republicans and Democrats is closer to 55-45. “The so-called ‘maps’ proposed by the Ohio GOP are a betrayal of Ohio voters and the issues that they care about. These maps are not only unacceptable, they’re offensive to Ohioans who voted overwhelmingly twice for fair representation,” said Ohio Democratic Party Chair Elizabeth Walters, referencing 2015 and 2018 ballot initiatives where the population voted overwhelmingly in favor of a constitutional amendment for a new, more independent redistricting process. The Commission will host a series of public hearings next week for testimony on the proposed maps.