The Ohio Redistricting Commission faces yet another deadline regarding the redrawing new congressional districts as members wait on Ohio House Speaker Robert Cupp bides his time on moving forward on a process that could have ended Sept. 30.
The commission has not met since the Ohio General Assembly failed to consider, let along pass, options for redistricas the state prepares to lose one congressional district following the reapportionment of congressional representation among the states sparked by the 2020 U.S. census.
Republican members of Ohio’s redistricting commission will have to answer questions as part of three lawsuits challenging new state legislative district maps, the Ohio Supreme Court said.
Groups such as the League of Women Voters of Ohio, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Council on American-Islamic Relations filed lawsuits, claiming the legislative maps are unconstitutional and gerrymandered. The Ohio Supreme Court has jurisdiction over lawsuits that challenge redistricting.
Two more lawsuits have been filed with the Ohio Supreme Court challenging Republican drawn legislative district maps, claiming they are unconstitutional and gerrymandered.
The most-recent challenge came Monday from the Ohio chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and was filed by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law and the law firm Reed Smith.
Calling Ohio’s new state legislative district maps a flagrant violation of the Ohio Constitution and extreme partisan gerrymandering, the American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit challenging maps it says give Republicans an unfair advantage.
The lawsuit, filed by the ACLU of Ohio, the ACLU and Burling LLP, was brought on behalf of the League of Women Voters of Ohio, the Ohio chapter of the A. Philip Randolph Institute and several individuals.
The Ohio Redistricting Commission expects to approve new legislative maps Wednesday, the constitutional deadline, after hearing testimony Tuesday, most of which was more critical of the proposed maps than supportive.
The commission heard from 90 witnesses Tuesday, the second public hearing for maps introduced Sept. 9. Many witnesses during the hearing, which began at 10 a.m. and was still going after 3 p.m., complained of divided neighborhoods, unfair district lines, confusing districts and an unopen process.
Ohio’s new redistricting commission missed its first constitutional deadline for redrawing legislative maps, and one of the group’s co-chairs laid the blame at the feet of the federal government.
House Speaker Bob Cupp, R-Lima, said late data from the U.S. Census Bureau was the reason the Ohio Redistricting Commission missed the Sept. 1 deadline to present its first maps and failed to hold three public hearings on those maps.