Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine enacted a new congressional district map
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Republican Ohio Governor Mike DeWine on Saturday promulgated a map of new congressional districts that will be in effect for the next four years, despite objections from Democrats and voting rights groups.
DeWine said in a statement that, compared to other proposals from House and Senate lawmakers on both sides, the Senate legislation he signed “makes the most progress in producing a fair, compact and competitive map.” .
The redistribution measure cleared the state legislature along party lines with House approval Thursday after a frantic sprint through both chambers, amid praise from majority Republicans.
Democrats have called the Republican-led mapping process unfair, partisan and secretive. The Senate approved the bill on Tuesday, just about 4 hours after the new map was released. Princeton’s non-partisan project Gerrymandering gave the card an F.
The new law creates no more than three safe Democratic districts out of 15 new seats in the United States House in a state where voters are divided by around 54% Republicans and 46% Democrats.
The populated counties of Cuyahoga and Hamilton – home to Cleveland and Cincinnati, respectively, and their concentrations of Democratic voters – are divided in three ways each. Franklin County, home to Columbus, is split in two, and the western suburb of Cleveland in Lorain County is part of a district that stretches to the Indiana border, nearly 3 hours away. of road.
DeWine, however, said on Saturday that the new map “had less division between counties and cities” than recent proposals and the current congressional map. decades “and keeps Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dayton and Toledo” all together on the same congressional map for the first time since the 1840s “.
State Representative DJ Swearingen, a Republican, defended the card in debate Thursday as being fair, constitutional and not unduly favoring a political party or its incumbents. He echoed the sponsorship arguments of GOP Senator Rob McColley, calling the plan superior in terms of competitiveness and in the spirit of a 2018 constitutional amendment.
âIf you have the right candidate on the right questions, you can win a competitive district,â McColley said. âWhereas the Democratic card that was proposed to the House offered a determined result. “
Fair Districts Ohio, a coalition of voting rights groups and labor organizations, called on the governor to overturn the bill. Executive Director Jen Miller of the League of Women Voters of Ohio, a member organization, said that instead of a “bipartisan and transparent redistribution,” leaders had “disrespected voters, trampled on the Constitution of the United States. Ohio and rigged the congressional card to serve partisan political agents rather than fairly. represent the Ohioans.
The Ohio Democratic Party on Saturday lambasted the governor for signing the bill, with party chairwoman Elizabeth Walters accusing DeWine of “naked and partisan self-interest.”
âDeWine and the Ohio GOP are doing everything and everything they can to prevent voters from holding them accountable at the ballot box as they continue to betray Ohioans every moment,â Walters said.
The mayor of Dayton, Nan Whaley, accused the governor of being “more interested in maintaining political power and appeasing his party before a controversial primary than in respecting the will of the people of Ohio.”
As part of a new process established under a popular constitutional amendment of 2018, creating a 10-year map – ideally – would have required strong Democratic support. Without it, the plan will only last four years.
States must redraw their congressional districts every 10 years to reflect new population numbers. Under this year’s U.S. census results, delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, Ohio lost a seat in Congress starting next year, dropping it from 16 to 15.