COLUMBUS, Ohio — On Saturday morning, Gov. Mike DeWine signed Senate Bill 258, establishing congressional maps for Ohio after signing them into law.
The maps were approved by the House on Thursday after being introduced Monday night as an amendment that replaced the maps that had been discusses in committee hearing previously.
The Princeton Gerrymandering gave the maps a flunking grade, saying the redistricting offers a 10-2 Republican advantage with two more seats leaning Republican and one more leaning Democrat. Democrats argued the maps along the rushed way.
Voting rights groups had urged DeWine to veto the maps that outline new congressional districts that will give Republican candidates a significant electoral advantage for the next four years.
DeWine issued the following statement on his decision to sign SB 258:
When compared to the other proposals offered from House and Senate caucuses, both Republican and Democrat, the map in SB 258 makes the most progress to produce a fair, compact, and competitive map. The SB 258 map has fewer county splits and city splits than these recent proposals and the current congressional map. The SB 258 map keeps Lucas and Stark counties, as well as the Mahoning Valley, whole within single congressional districts for the first time in decades, and also keeps the cities of Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dayton, and Toledo all whole within the same congressional map for the first time since the 1840s. With seven competitive congressional districts in the SB 258 map, this map significantly increases the number of competitive districts versus the current map.
Meanwhile, the Ohio Democratic Party slammed DeWine for signing the maps into law, arguing that the move "betrays Ohioans and flies in the face of reforms voters overwhelmingly called for."
“There’s only one thing you can count on Mike DeWine for: naked, partisan self-interest. By signing these despicable maps into law, DeWine is leaving no doubt he will always put his own political interests over the interests of Ohioans he is supposed to serve. DeWine and the Ohio GOP are doing everything and anything they can to prevent voters from holding them accountable at the ballot box while they continue to betray Ohioans at every turn,” said Party Chair Walters.
Prior to DeWine signing SB 258, Jen Miller of the League of Women Voters of Ohio and Catherine Turcer of Common Cause Ohio said legal action or even a ballot referendum should he sign the maps into law.
Shortly after DeWine signed the bill, the Equal Districts Coalition sounded off the the decision, condemning the governor for signing the "heavily gerrymandered congressional district map."
"Once again, Governor DeWine has failed to stand up to the extremists in his party. He could have rejected gerrymandered maps, but chose weakness instead," said Desiree Tims, President and CEO of Innovation Ohio. "These rigged districts will lead to more extreme politicians who pass dangerous laws that devastate Ohio communities.”
The group said DeWine chose to ignore Ohioan's calls, emails and tweet, and his own pledge to the state, when he signed SB 258.
"Statehouse Republicans introduced and passed Ohio’s new map in just a few days. It was crafted behind closed doors, without input from the minority party or the public. The map will give Republicans 80% - 87% of Ohio’s congressional seats, despite the fact that Republicans only win about 55% of Ohio’s statewide vote," Equal Districts Coalition said.
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