Ohio Supreme Court Strikes Down Gerrymandered GOP Maps for the Third Time

The Ohio Supreme Court rejected Republican-drawn state district maps for the third time. This sent the majority-Republican Ohio Redistricting Commission back on the drawing board.

In a 4-3 decision, the judges found that the maps were unconstitutional and didn’t reflect the will of voters in the state. “Substantial and compelling evidence shows beyond a reasonable doubt that the main goal of the individuals who drafted the second revised plan was to favor the Republican Party and disfavor the Democratic Party,” the majority wrote.

The majority, including one conservative justice, said that Republicans have inflicted “chaos” on themselves in the map-drawing process. They ordered the commission to submit new maps by March 28. The delay of at least a portion of the primary election, which was scheduled to take place on May 3, will almost certainly be necessary.

“Resolving this self-created chaos thus depends not on the number of hands on the computer mouse but, rather, on the political will to honor the people’s call to end partisan gerrymandering,” the ruling reads. Already, the maps have been drawn up by Republicans Two times rejected by the courtfor gerrymandering, and has missed numerous deadlines in passing maps.

Democratic state lawmakers criticised Republicans for trying to pass gerrymandered mapping yet again.

“For a third time, the Supreme Court has ruled that the majority party is not above the law and cannot blatantly disregard the will of Ohio voters and the Ohio Constitution,” said Ohio House Minority Leader and Democratic redistricting commission member Allison Russo in a statement. “Democrats have a state legislative map proposal ready to go that is fair, constitutional, and closely reflects the statewide voting preferences of Ohioans. Now, it is up to the Republican Commissioners to work with us to adopt the fair maps Ohioans deserve.”

The most recent maps have been adopted by the redistricting commission 4 to 3With only Republicans voting for the mapOne Republican joining the two Democrats to vote against them. Because they weren’t passed with a bipartisan majority, they would only have been in place for four years.

After the second rejection, the commission redrew maps. FebruaryThe justices ruled the maps were unfairly favoring Republicans, giving them 58% of seats. This is despite previous election data showing that roughly 54% of Ohio voters prefer Republicans. The justices concluded that the maps would have created 42 percent of the seats for Democrats.

The new maps were rejected by Republicans. This would have given them 54 percent of the state’s seats, which is close to voter preferences. Voting rights advocates, however, disagree. said that theMaps would have set a hard limit on how many districts Democrats could win, regardless what voter preferences were in that election.

Democrats weren’t given a chance to contribute to the map-drawing or even review the maps when they were presented in February, justices said in their decision. “The evidence shows that the individuals who controlled the map-drawing process exercised that control with the overriding intent to maintain as much of an advantage as possible for members of their political party,” the justices wrote.

GOP Gov. Mike DeWine suggested that Republican and Democratic mapmakers “work together” on the fourth draft, which is theoretically the entire purpose of the redistricting commission. The group was createdIn 2015, voters approved a constitutional amend to end partisan bias during the map-drawing process. However, Republicans have been able to commandeerThe commission and create gerrymandered mapping anyway.