Strike Two for Ohio Redistricting Commission

By Edward Walsh, Staff Writer

Photo courtesy of

The Ohio redistricting woes continue for Ohio legislators as the state Supreme Court’s February 7th decision rejected their most recent map proposal.[1] This marks the third rejected proposal since the initial ruling in 2019 by a three-judge panel from the US Federal District Court for Southern Ohio who called for a redrawing of Ohio’s “unconstitutional gerrymandered” districts[2]. The Ohio Redistricting Commission, an appointed panel in charge of redistricting, must now reconvene and make another proposal before the court mandated deadline of Thursday, February 17th.[3]

The new map proposal created 57 Republican districts and 42 Democratic districts in the Ohio House.[4] The new map also created 20 Republican districts to 13 Democratic districts in the Ohio Senate.[5]

Opponents of the map maintain that the new map violated Ohio’s anti-gerrymandering constitutional provision.[6]The constitutional provision states that state representative districts must reflect the partisan preferences of Ohio voters.[7]  Surveys over the last 10 years show that Ohio voters have voted 54% Republican and 46% Democrat in statewide elections.[8]

Opponents have blamed redistricting issues on the partisan politics inherent in the Ohio Redistricting Commission. The Commission consists of Republican Governor Mike DeWine, Republican auditor Keith Faber, Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose, and legislative leaders from both parties.[9]  

“They made maps that were once again gerrymandered. Bottom line, voters will be best served when the maps fairly represent them and are not sliced and diced simply for partisan outcomes,” says Jen Miller, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio, the plaintiffs in the case bringing the new map proposal before the Ohio Supreme Court.[10]

The latest proposal map was rejected in a narrow 4-3 decision by the Ohio Supreme court on Monday that saw Republican Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor joining Democratic Justices Jennifer Brunner, Michael Donnelly, and Melody Stewart.[11] The majority stated: 

“Throughout the process, the Republican map drawers refused to expressly work toward a 54 to 46 percent partisan share. Yet that is not a “superficial ratio,” … Rather, as we made clear in [the earlier ruling in the case], it is a foundational ratio created not by this court or by any particular political party but instead etched by the voters of Ohio into our Constitution.” [12]

The dissenting Republican Justices – Sharon Kennedy, Patrick Fischer, and Patrick DeWine dissented saying that the Court does not have the authority to oversee the redistricting process.[13]

This setback comes amidst pressing deadlines for the 2022 spring primaries. Early voting for overseas Ohio residents is set to begin in five weeks.[14]  Before these elections are to occur candidates must announce their candidacy to their respective districts and ballots must be made.[15] These preparations cannot occur until a new district map has been adopted. 

This has led some prominent lawmakers like Republican Senate President Mike Huffman to call for postponing the elections. “Once you get a map it takes three weeks to plug that into the voting… I don’t see how we can have an election for the General Assembly and for congressmen by May 3rd”, said Huffman.[16]

Solutions must come fast from Ohio lawmakers as the court mandated deadline is quickly approaching.




[4] Id.

[5] Id.

[6] Id.



[9] Id.

[10] Id.

[11] Id. 


[13] Id.


[15] Id.

[16] Id. 

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