COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio House Republicans passed new congressional district maps that would likely preserve the GOP’s advantage in Ohio’s congressional delegation for the next four years.
After already being approved by Ohio Senate Republicans on Tuesday, all but four GOP members of the Ohio House voted in favor of the bill.
The new legislative maps go to Gov. Mike DeWine’s desk for his signature.
While U.S. law requires states to redraw U.S. House district boundaries every decade, the boundaries approved by the House and Senate would only be effective for four years. A 2018 referendum approved by voters states that maps that don’t get bipartisan support can only be enacted for four years.
The referendum states that districts cannot “unduly favor or disfavor any political party or its incumbents.”
Republicans unveiled a new map late Monday that appeared to make several districts more competitive than previously proposed GOP maps. According to the bill, the map would include six Republican-leaning districts, two Democratic-leaning districts and seven competitive districts.
The legislation also noted that the new map would pit two Republican incumbents against each other as Ohio will lose a House seat due to shifts in population.
But Democrats and advocates for equal districts dispute the number of competitive seats in the bill.
“These sham maps are especially harmful to our Black and Brown communities — they undermine the voting power of communities of color by cracking them apart and packing them together into districts that minimize our political influence,” said Kobie Christian, spokesperson for For Our Future Ohio. “We call on Gov. DeWine to defend democracy in our state, protect the representation of communities of color, and veto these rigged maps.”
Republicans fired back.
“If it’s all about all gerrymandered districts, tell me why the governor of Ohio, the Secretary of State, the attorney general, the treasurer, the auditor is a Republican,” said House Majority Floor Leader Bill Seitz. Is the whole state gerrymandered or is Ohio a red state?”