New Ohio legislative district maps unconstitutional and need re-drawn, Supreme Court says

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the new maps for Ohio House and Senate districts must be re-drawn due to not meeting voter approved provisions of the Ohio Constitution to reduce partisan political gerrymandering, an announcement from the court read.

The 4-3 decision concluded the maps are invalid, because the Ohio Redistricting Commission did not attempt to draw legislative districts that correspond with voter preference.

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“All parties agreed that in statewide partisan elections over the past decade, Republican candidates had won 54 percent of the vote share and Democratic candidates had won 46 percent of the vote share,” the court’s opinion read.

However, the map adopted by the commission favored Republicans with 67 seats for Republicans to 32 seats for Democrats. The Ohio Senate map favored Republicans with 23 seats to 10 seats for Democrats, according to the court.

According to the ruling, the Supreme Court order the commission to adopt a new plan within 10 days that conforms with the Ohio Constitution.

“Throughout this process, I expected that Ohio’s legislative maps would be litigated and that the Ohio Supreme Court would make a decision on their constitutionality,” Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said. “I will work with my fellow Redistricting Commission members on revised maps that are consistent with the Court’s order.”

The court said it will review the plan the commission adopts for compliance with the order.

“Twice, Ohioans overwhelmingly demanded change and fair representation, and I’m glad that the Ohio Supreme Court listened,” said Ohio Democratic Party Chair Elizabeth Walters. " Now that the Supreme Court has ruled, it’s imperative that the commission actually do their jobs this time and create maps that reflect our state, not a Republican party wish list.”

Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, Justice Michael P. Donnelly, Justice Jennifer Brunner and Justice Melody Stewart all joined in the majority opinion. Justice Sharon Kennedy, Justice Patrick Fischer and Justice R. Patrick DeWine dissented.