WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, a second lawsuit was filed in the Supreme Court of Ohio challenging Ohio’s newly-drawn state Senate and House maps. The complaint, filed on behalf of multiple Ohio voters, argues that the new maps are partisan gerrymanders that violate Article XI of the Ohio Constitution, an amendment passed by a majority of voters in 2015 in response to extreme partisan gerrymandering conducted by Republicans in the last round of redistricting. This lawsuit follows a similar case filed yesterday that also alleges that the state’s new legislative maps are partisan gerrymanders.
The suit raises multiple concerns with the new General Assembly maps. First, the bipartisan Ohio Redistricting Commission did not meet the state’s constitutionally-mandated deadlines, as they released draft maps to the public after the deadline had passed, and they “did not actively engage with public input,” according to the complaint. Second, the suit argues that the new maps do not accurately reflect the will of Ohio voters and instead seek to entrench Republican supermajorities in both chambers of the legislature. The complaint asserts that “by Republicans’ own view in their statement on partisan fairness, the actual statewide voter preference of Ohioans is 54-46 in favor of Republicans,” yet the new maps favor “Republicans 64.4 percent of the time, a substantial and consequential deviation from the statewide voter preferences of Ohioans.” The maps, according to the complaint, also do not accurately reflect the will of voters of color as the plan passed “packs and cracks those communities, inhibiting their ability to organize to elect candidates of their choice, and diluting the strength of their votes.” The suit asks the court to declare the new maps invalid and order the creation of fair maps.