NewsOhio News


Group proposes new Congressional district maps as Ohio legislature still to take action

Posted at 5:31 PM, Feb 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-04 19:09:21-05

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The clock is ticking for the Ohio Legislature to come up with new Congressional district maps. The Ohio Supreme Court gave lawmakers 30 days to redraw the districts but that was 20 days ago.

On Thursday, leaders of Fair Districts Ohio unveiled a model congressional map that complies with the Ohio Constitution, abides by the ruling of the Ohio Supreme Court, and delivers fairness and an end to gerrymandering to the voters. The coalition urged the state legislature to use the model map as a starting point in the official congressional mapmaking process.

“We’re proud to present a map drawn by Fair Districts advocates that ensures our congressional elections are fair, politically competitive, and free of gerrymandering,” said Catherine Turcer, Common Cause Ohio Executive Director. “Ohioans don’t want Republican maps or Democratic maps—they want fair maps that will deliver a government accountable to the people. Our model map meets the anti-gerrymandering requirements voters overwhelmingly approved and we look forward to its inclusion in the state-led process.”

The new maps would give Republicans a 9-6 edge compared to the 12-3 Republican margin in the maps rejected by the state Supreme Court. Out of that 9-6 likely split, six of those seats would be competitive based on past votes, within a few points.

The map was drawn up by a citizen map maker from New York. Fair Districts Ohio. So do they think there is a chance the Republican-controlled legislature will run with this map? No.

"We are not going into this you know naive pollyanna-ish,” Turcer said. “The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior."

And past behavior on the part of the legislature has been to say the maps that they drew were the best that they could do. In presenting this map the hope is to say no, you can do better.

"You know one of the things that they said throughout is ooh there just aren't any other constitutional maps or oh we had to do this because of x,y,z,” Turcer said. “The reason that we wanted to make sure that we put this model map out there is it deprives the state legislature or the leadership of the excuse that a good map isn't possible."

Of local note, the proposed Cuyahoga County 11th Congressional District is very similar to the previous map but it would carve out Lakewood and include more eastern suburbs.

Summit County would be kept whole in a new district with Portage County and most of Geauga County. And Stark County would also be kept whole in a new district stretching west.

While the legislature has 10 only days left to come up with a map, that potentially won't be the end of this.

"No, if they don't actually get buy-in from enough folks including at least a few Democrats, then we're talking about it going to the Ohio Redistricting Commission."

The seven-member commission that just drew the state legislative districts that are again before the Ohio Supreme Court. They would get an additional 30 to draw maps which would actually take the process into mid-March and past the March 4 filing deadline for May 3 primary.