COLUMBUS, Ohio — Sources told Spectrum News a lawsuit on the new Ohio legislative maps that were passed last week "is imminent." Voting rights groups have been adamant in demanding accountability for the way the maps were drawn and approved.
What You Need To Know
- Sources told Spectrum News a lawsuit on the new Ohio legislative maps is imminent
- Hundreds packed Trinity Episcopal Church in Columbus on Tuesday calling on lawmakers to fulfill the promise of the congressional redistricting reforms placed into the Ohio Constitution
- The state legislature has until Sept. 30 to approve a new congressional map before it goes to the Ohio Redistricting Commission.
The final details of the lawsuit are still being worked out, but the sources said it may be expected for something to be filed by early next week. The legislative maps will be challenged as the general assembly has a week and a half before its initial deadline to draw a new congressional district map.
Related to redistricting, hundreds packed Trinity Episcopal Church in Columbus on Tuesday calling on lawmakers to fulfill the promise of the congressional redistricting reforms placed into the Ohio Constitution.
"It is my hope that we will see a better process for Congress that results in a map that truly upholds both the letter and spirit of the 2018 reform," said Jen Miller, Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio.
Voting rights advocates said that did not happen with the statehouse maps despite the constitutional reforms passed in 2015.
"We made an agreement and they sat there and they said all the right words. They said that they care about your communities. They say they care about our representational fairness. They said everything but actions speak louder than words," said Heather Taylor-Miesle, Executive Director of the Ohio Environmental Council.
William Davis if Dayton, who collected signatures for the congressional reforms, said he does not have a lot of faith in the state legislature to not gerrymander the congressional map.
"We'll be in court probably over both the state maps and the congressional maps," Davis said.
Miller said the League of Women Voters of Ohio and other advocates met with Gov. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, and Secretary of State Frank LaRose, R-Ohio, Tuesday to make sure the expectations for the state legislature are clear.
"Transparency, deliberation, to be listening to experts, to be thinking about best practices, to be announcing the hearings now for the public and to be having all of those deliberations be done in hearing rather than behind closed doors, ultimately resulting in maps that serve voters and not the selfish, short-sighted interests of political parties or individual candidates," said Miller.
Miller said if that does not happen, all options are on the table.
"We either need to go to the courts and/or get our clipboards out and get back on the ballot," Miller said.
An Ohio Senate Majority Caucus spokesperson said there are no new developments as far as when the general assembly might hold hearings on the congressional district map. An Ohio Republican Majority Caucus spokesperson said they cannot comment on a lawsuit that does not exist.
The state legislature has until Sept. 30 to approve a new congressional map before it goes to the Ohio Redistricting Commission. The commission then has the month of October to do the same thing. If the commission cannot get it done, it goes back to the state legislature whose final deadline is Nov. 30.