Ohio Redistricting Commission adopts revised House and Senate maps
After failing to meet the Ohio Supreme Court’s ordered deadline for submitting House and Senate district maps, the Ohio Redistricting Commission passed its third version of district boundaries by a 4-3 vote on February 24, 2022. Auditor of State Keith Faber (R) joined the commission’s two Democratic members opposing the maps.
According to the commission’s majority party members, the maps likely produce 54-45 and 18-15 Republican majorities in the House and Senate, respectively. However, Democratic commissioners objected both because of their lack of involvement in creating the latest map and because all of the map’s competitive districts were classified as “Democratic districts” while no “Republican districts” were considered competitive. Democratic commissioners alleged that of the 15 Democratic Senate seats only eight were safe seats, and in the House, only 26 of the purported 45 Democratic seats were safe, arguing that the map is actually worse than the two previously invalidated maps.
After the meeting, Faber told reporters he objected to community splits in the maps. And, after objecting to similar splits in previous Democratic map proposals, he needed to be consistent in his approach, saying “there certainly were some similarities between the two map maps, in my opinion with regard to compactness, and with regard to drawing districts candidly to draw more Democratic seats I think that's indicative of the fact that when you try and draw 54-45 map, you have to, in my opinion, gerrymander for the other side. I thought those concerns were consistent with the ones I had last week. And for that reason, I couldn't support this map.”
The commission announced meetings on Tuesday, March 1 and possibly Wednesday, March 2 to address congressional districts.
The court established the briefing schedule for any objections to the latest maps. The plaintiffs filed their objections on Monday, February 28. Responses to these objections are due Thursday, March 3. With multiple cases pending for both the state and congressional maps, we expect the redistricting process to continue to be fluid and dynamic.