The Ohio Supreme Court sides with Ohio voters and confirms the value of the voices of Black and Brown voters in the redistricting process by rejecting maps that diluted the power of their vote.
In the 4-3 Majority vote, the court rejected the partisan and racial gerrymandering of the legislative maps adopted by the Ohio Redistricting Commission. By doing so, the Court ruled that the maps do not meet the letter or intent of Ohio voters who amended the Constitution to require fair districts.
“The maps presented not only fail to use a reasonable basis of representational fairness” stated Deidra Reese, Statewide Coordinator of the Ohio Coalition on Black Civic Participation/Ohio Unity Coalition, “but it also broke up black and brown communities in places like Hamilton, Lucas and Cuyahoga counties just to give one party an edge, which we are glad the court recognized and rejected.”
The majority accepted the argument that communities of color were divided and spread into heavily republican leaning districts which had the impact of minimizing the ability of black and brown voter’s ability to elect legislators of their choice, which could have a negative impact on policy decisions that affect their daily lives. The majority members on the court demand that the Redistricting Commission avoid this practice and ordered them to redraw the legislative lines.
Many Ohio citizens including OCBCP/Ohio Unity Coalition activists from across the state attended hearings, wrote letters, made calls, and offered testimony calling for fair maps as the Redistricting Commission deliberated and developed the maps. Angela Shute-Woodson, OCBCP/Ohio Unity Coalition Cleveland Coordinator, pointed out that information provided from the many hearings were included in what was considered by the Supreme Court as they made their decision concluding that the current legislative maps are unconstitutional and that fair maps are possible.
OCBCP/Ohio Unity Coalition will continue to monitor the redrawing of the maps to ensure racial representation is taken into account.
The Ohio Coalition on Black Civic Participation/Ohio Unity Coalition is the state affiliate of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation based in Toledo, Ohio.