Monday, March 20, 2023

Federal Judges Dismiss Ohio Supreme Court: Mandate Zero Vote Map

COLUMBUS, Ohio ( Associated Press) – A federal court panel Friday ordered Ohio to hold the primary on Aug. 2 using a third set of statehouse maps approved by the Ohio Redistribution Commission, despite a rebuke of the plan by the state’s High Court.

A divided three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio said in its ruling that the court acted after giving Ohio a Saturday deadline to come up with a new map for the legislative districts.

That deadline would be missed, because the GOP-controlled commission had not scheduled a meeting.

“We have recognized from the outset that choosing a remedy will be challenging,” Circuit Judge Amul Thapar said in a 2-1 majority opinion.

Thapar wrote, “And amid the standoff between the state authorities and the delay in getting the case, our options were limited.” “So we chose the best of our bad choices.”

The federal court’s decision came in a lawsuit brought by a group of Republican voters, who initially sought to save the legislative primaries scheduled for May 3 using the commission’s third set of district lines, which were also found to be unconstitutional.

Friday’s decision was a victory for that GOP group as well as the Republican-dominated Redistribution Commission, which passed five straight sets of legislative maps that could not meet constitutional muster.

Rob Nichols, spokesman for Republican Secretary of State Frank Larose, the state’s election chief and a member of the redistribution commission, said instructions would be sent Saturday to the state’s 88 election board regarding the primary.

Federal Judge Algenon Marbly disagreed with Friday’s ruling, saying the state’s Supreme Court reiterated this week that the third map was unconstitutional.

The best option was a map drawn up by two experts, one chosen by a Republican, one by a Democrat, Marbly said.

Two individuals—Douglas Johnson, president of the National Demographics Corporation, and Michael McDonald, University of Florida political science professor—were nearly exhausted when the commission abruptly cut its work and passed a different map. The two were paid $450 an hour for the last four days to create the new maps in a task viewed online step-by-step.

Ohio’s map battle comes in the midst of a once-per-decade political map-making process that all states must undertake to reflect population changes from the census. The combination of Republican foot-dragging and legal wrangling has extended redistribution well into the 2022 election season and affected Ohio’s legislative primaries. The map should have been completed last fall.

A 2015 constitutional amendment, passed overwhelmingly by voters, required the commission to attempt to at least avoid partisan partisanship and attempt to distribute districts proportionately to reflect Ohio’s political makeup, which is approximately Divided into 54% Republicans, 46% Democrats.

Republican commissioners have argued over the set of maps they’ve resubmitted to court recently that meet those requirements. According to GOP calculations, borders would create a 54–45 Republican majority in the Ohio House and an 18–15 Republican majority in the Ohio Senate. Democrats have challenged their numbers, saying that many of the districts that count in the Democrats’ column are too closely divided.

Both LaRose and the association, which represents election officials in Ohio’s 88 counties, previously said they wanted the legislative primaries to be held on Aug.

The court’s decision Friday was disappointing, said State Sen. Vernon Sykes, a Akron Democrat and co-chair of the redistribution commission. But he said the ruling only affects elections this year.

“The Ohio Redistribution Commission still has a responsibility to produce a fair, constitutional map for the rest of the decade and I will continue to work toward that goal,” Sykes said.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
Nation World News is the fastest emerging news website covering all the latest news, world’s top stories, science news entertainment sports cricket’s latest discoveries, new technology gadgets, politics news, and more.
Latest news
Related news