OHIO ACLU Challenges the current United States District Maps in a Lawsuit filed May 23
by Mosie Welch
Didn’t we just eliminate gerrymandering in Ohio with Issue 1 when 75% of voters said yes to Issue 1? It is a beginning; however, the Ohio ACLU is clearly not satisfied that Issue 1 goes far enough to eliminate partisan gerrymandering and there is serious concern that 2021 is not soon enough to rectify the egregious map which is in place through the 2020 election cycle. Ohio has become yet another state challenging the validity of its current US congressional districts maps in United States District Court.
On May 23, 2018 the ACLU challenged the current US district plan or map in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.
“The ACLU of Ohio and the ACLU Voting Rights Project are representing two organizational plaintiffs, Ohio’s A. Phillip Randolph Institute and the League of Women Voters of Ohio. The A. Philip Randolph Institute is a national organization for African-American trade unionists and community activists, established in 1965 to forge an alliance between the civil rights and labor movements. The bulk of the institute’s work today is focused on voter education, registration, and outreach efforts. The League of Women Voters was founded between the time that Congress passed the 19th Amendment and it was ratified, to help newly enfranchised women exercise their right to vote. Today, it is a non-profit, non-partisan grassroots membership organization dedicated to empowering citizens and ensuring an effective democracy.
The ACLU is also representing individual plaintiffs in all 16 of Ohio’s U.S. Congressional districts”.
The ACLE has prepared a FAQ about the lawsuit. Find out more here: https://www.acluohio.org/archives/blog-posts/faqs-congressional-redistricting-litigation
The full complaint is 48 pages long and quite educational, I highly recommend you browse through it. You can read the full complaint here: http://www.acluohio.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Complaint_APRIetalvKasichetal_2018-0523.pdf
The Ohio League of Women Voters has joined the lawsuit based on the mandate to end gerrymandering in Ohio by a margin of 75% statewide in the May 8 primary election and its longstanding work on redistricting reform in Ohio.
"Ohio's current congressional map is clearly gerrymandered and unconstitutional," said LWV Ohio Executive Director Jen Miller. "Voters demonstrated their understanding of this issue and hunger for change at the ballot box on May 8. We look forward to seeing the benefits of Issue 1 during the creation of future maps, which starts in 2021. But the fact remains that the current map needs to be addressed now. This lawsuit could lead to fair maps for all Ohio voters in the 2020 election, and create a strong framework for future map making under the Issue 1 process."
Find out more about the Leagues position in their press release at this link: https://www.lwv.org/newsroom/press-releases/lwv-ohio-joins-congressional-district-lawsuit
On May 23, 2018, Ohio ACLU published a blog post by Alora Thomas-Lundborg, Staff Attorney, ACLU Voting Rights Project which is an excellent read on gerrymandering in Ohio and what really happened when the maps were last drawn: https://www.aclu.org/blog/voting-rights/gerrymandering/why-ohios-congressional-map-unconstitutional
May 8, 2018 was a good day for redistricting reform in Ohio. We have good reason to celebrate! A whopping 74.9% of voters statewide said YES to ending gerrymandering for our United States Congressional Districts. In Medina County, Issue 1 passed with 73.2% of the votes. This is in part due to all the hard work of redistricting reform activists who took to the streets and the polls with clipboards and fliers in hand over the past year. You have reason to stop and savor the moment because your hard work has paid off.
Your citizen activism made a difference. So, to each of you who collected signatures for the Fair Districts ballot initiative in the heat and cold; wrote postcards t our representatives or voters; bought stamps; passed out fliers in your neighborhood; worked at the polls; posted yard signs; or talked to friends, neighbors, and co-workers – THANK YOU! But our job is not done.
In 2021, public and community input will be very important in ensuring that our representatives follow through on Ohio citizen’s will for drawing fair and compact districts using a transparent process and minimal splits. Redistricting reform for our state legislative districts (passed in 2015 with 71% of the vote statewide) and our United States congressional districts (Issue 1/2018) will go into effect in 2021 based on the numbers resulting from the 2020 census. This means the census in Ohio is crucial and we need to keep an eye on the process. We must remain vigilant. Between now and then all citizens MUST exercise their right to vote.
I urge each of you to vote and remain involved in getting out the vote in 2018 and beyond. Voting remains the single most important way to have your voice heard. Every vote counts as we have observed in 2018 in special elections across the country. Voting matters- as does good government activism.
What do I do with my yard sign sleeve? Please recycle it where you recycle your plastic bags!
Primary elections are upon us, and the field for Governor in the state of Ohio is rather crowded this year. Are you confused or unsure about which candidate best represents your values and views? Give the radio show “Sound of Ideas” WCPN 90.3 ideastream a listen this week 4/23 – 4/27 from 9a – 10 a to hear all six (two Republicans and six Democrats), candidates share their views and answer questions.
The format is a short stump speech, and then all candidates are taking questions from the listeners. Do you have a question that no one has answered to your satisfaction? Send an e-mail to SOI@WCPN.org or comment on The Sound of Ideas Facebook page.
You can also catch up on the on the segments that aired on Monday by pointing your browser here.