Ohio Redistricting Commission adopts new four year House and Senate maps

Bricker & Eckler LLP

While most were watching the Bengals defeat the Titans in the NFL playoffs on January 22, 2022, the Ohio Redistricting Commission adopted new state House and Senate district boundaries. The commission faced a midnight deadline to comply with the Ohio Supreme Court’s order. The party line vote, 5-2, establishes the districts for four years. A bipartisan vote creates 10 year districts.

The maps, proposed and passed by the commission’s Republican members, likely results in a 57-42 Republican majority in the House and a 20-13 Republican majority in the Senate. The court’s order required the commission to target maps that create 54-45 and 18-15 majorities, which mirrors Ohio’s statewide voting preferences. The commission’s Democratic members, Senator Vernon Sykes and House Minority Leader Elect Allison Russo, objected to the adopted maps, claiming that many of the districts classified as “leaning Democratic” do so by thin margins, but the “lean Republican” districts had stronger partisan indexes. Democrats proposed maps that adhered to the court’s targets, but during the day’s hearing, Republican commission members questioned if the proposal violated other constitutional requirements and argued their proposal was the best that could be done without violating the state’s constitution.

All eyes now turn back to the Ohio Supreme Court, where plaintiffs from the litigation have three days to file objections to the new maps.

The Ohio General Assembly has until mid-February to comply with the Supreme Court’s order to redraw Ohio’s congressional districts.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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