COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — For the second time, the Ohio Supreme Court has struck down the state’s redistricted legislative maps.
In the ruling where the court said the approved redistricting plan was ‘invalid in its entirety,” the court set a 9 a.m. Feb. 17 deadline for the statehouse’s Ohio Redistricting Commission to present two new maps to Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose. The commission then has to submit the plan to the court one day later.
Once the new plan is filed with the court, anyone wanting to object to the plan has until three days after that plan is passed by the commission to file their objections.
The plan rejected by the court Monday would have created 57 Republican-leaning districts for the state’s House, with 42 Democratic-leaning seats. On the Senate side, Republicans would have had a 20-13 advantage of Republican-leaning seats.
Back in September, Ohio’s high court struck down the first attempt by the Republican-leaning commission to present redistricted maps, saying the plan unfairly favored Republicans, defying a constitutional amendment passed by Ohio voters in 2015.
According to the latest data released by the state, Ohio’s political makeup is 54 percent Republican, 46 percent Democratic.
The maps establish the districts representing Ohioans in both the Ohio Senate and House of Representatives.
As passed by a 5-2 party-line vote, the maps would have only been in effect for four years. If they had passed by a bipartisan vote, they would have been in effect for 10 years.
A third redistricting map, setting 15 districts for the U.S. House of Representatives, will be decided by the Statehouse as a whole. Lawmakers are set to unveil their latest proposal Tuesday, and the state must pass the map by this Sunday after the Ohio Supreme Court rejected the previous map last month for unfairly favoring Republicans in the state.
A spokesperson for Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, who sits on the commission, said the governor’s office has no comment Monday as it is reviewing the decision.
“We are pleased that once again the Ohio Supreme Court is upholding the rights of voters by telling the redistricting commission to go back to the drawing board,” said Jen Miller, director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio. “Our votes are sacred, the Ohio Constitution is sacred, and the redistricting commission needs to do its job to make maps that work for the people of Ohio, not their political interest.”