published : 2023-09-06

Activists Dismiss Legal Challenge to Ohio's Congressional Map

Ongoing Legal Battles Over District Boundaries Could Lead to Prolonged Cycles of Litigation

An aerial shot of Ohio, showcasing its diverse landscape and congressional districts. Taken with a DJI Mavic 2 Pro drone.

Ohio voting-rights groups have decided to dismiss their lawsuit against Ohio's unconstitutional congressional map, stating that prolonging the legal wrangling over district boundaries isn't beneficial for Ohio voters.

The ACLU of Ohio, representing the League of Women Voters of Ohio and others, informed the Ohio Supreme Court that they are willing to accept the U.S. House map approved on March 2, 2022, and used in the previous year's elections.

According to the filing, they prefer to avoid the continued turmoil caused by the redrawn maps and subsequent litigation.

Under the approved map, Democrats were able to secure five out of fifteen U.S. House seats, in comparison to the four out of sixteen they previously held.

Ohio had lost one seat in the U.S. House due to lagging population growth as revealed by the 2020 Census.

A close-up photo of activists from voting rights groups, passionately advocating for fair district boundaries in Ohio. Taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV.

The dismissal request indicates that the petitioners have no interest in engaging in another round of maps and challenges, given the history of map-drawing controversies in Ohio.

This history includes the court's rejection of two separate congressional maps and five sets of Statehouse maps, which were deemed gerrymandered in favor of the ruling Republicans.

Despite the disagreements, these maps had to be used for the 2022 elections as they were mired in legal uncertainty.

Since the filing of the voting advocates' lawsuit, the political landscape in Ohio has become even more conservative, with growing GOP supermajorities at the Statehouse.

Furthermore, the state's high court, responsible for deciding the case, experienced the retirement of a Republican chief justice who previously played a swing vote against GOP-leaning maps.

A vintage-inspired black and white image of the Ohio Supreme Court building, where important decisions regarding the state's congressional map are made. Taken with a Leica M10-P.

Advocates are now preparing a redistricting reform amendment for Ohio's 2024 ballot.

Before the recent filing, the Ohio Supreme Court had requested briefs from both sides in the lawsuit to explain how a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June, regarding the Ohio map, would impact the state case.

The nation's high court had set aside the ruling and ordered further consideration in light of its rejection of the 'independent state legislature theory' in a North Carolina case.

This theory asserts that legislatures have absolute power in establishing federal election rules and cannot be overruled by state courts.

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