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The Statehouse News Bureau provides educational, comprehensive coverage of legislation, elections, issues and other activities surrounding the Statehouse to Ohio's public radio and television stations.

Ohio ACLU Files Lawsuit Over Maps That Preserve Republican Supermajorities In Statehouse

 Ohio Redistricting Commission meets for last public hearing before deadline on maps. [Daniel Konik / Statehouse News Bureau]
Ohio Redistricting Commission meets for last public hearing before deadline on maps.

As expected, a lawsuit has been filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio on behalf of the League of Women Voters of Ohio against the new four-year Ohio House and Senate district maps, which experts say are gerrymandered to preserve Republican supermajorities in both chambers.

The Ohio Redistricting Commission approved the maps along party lines last week. The new maps would favor Republicans in 62 House districts and Democrats in 37 House districts. In the Senate, Republicans are likely to win 23 out of 33 seats, leaving 10 districts favorable to Democrats. Critics point out that in the 2020 election, 53% of voters cast ballots for former President Trump, the Republican candidate, while 45% voted for Democrat and current president Joe Biden.

This year was the first for the Commission, which was created by a 2015 constitutional amendment overwhelmingly approved by voters to change the redistricting process. Another amendment was adopted by voters in 2018 to change the way the Congressional map is created.

The current maps were also drawn by Republicans on the state apportionment board in 2011. Since then, there have never been fewer than 59 Republicans in the House, and the GOP caucus in the Senate has increased from 23 to 25.

The Ohio Supreme Court will hear the case. It's worth noting that the Court upheld the current maps when they were challenged in 2011. But Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor voted to reject them. There was one Democrat on the Court in 2011. Now there are three.

This is a breaking story and will be updated.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.