Thursday, January 13, 2022

GOP Gerrymandering in Ohio Thwarted by State Supreme Court

Stewart rejected an argument from Senate President Matt Huffman and House Speaker Bob Cupp, both Republicans and members of the commission, that Section 6 was "aspirational" and only applied if other requirements were not met.

"We reject the notion that Ohio voters rallied so strongly behind an anti-gerrymandering amendment to the Ohio Constitution yet believed at the time that the amendment was toothless," Stewart wrote.

According to Huffman, the maps could have given the GOP an advantage of 62 seats to 37 in the House and 23 seats to 10 in the House.
Republicans had defended the proposed maps by arguing that voters in Ohio preferred GOP candidates between 54 percent—the average percentage of Republican votes in statewide elections—and 81 percent of the time, according to The Columbus Dispatch. That latter figure represents the percentage of statewide races the GOP has won in the last decade.

Justice Stewart also suggested that the redistricting commission had been partisan. Two Republicans staffers had drawn up the maps and reported to Huffman and Cupp rather than the commission generally.

"The evidence here demonstrates that Senate President Huffman and House Speaker Cupp controlled the process of drawing the maps that the commission ultimately adopted," Stewart wrote.

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