Gerrymandering Lawsuit Trial Begins Monday In Cincinnati

Mar 3, 2019

Arguing the current congressional map in Ohio violates voters' constitutional rights, the ACLU, League of Women Voters and others are suing the state. A trial before the U.S. District Court is scheduled to begin Monday.

"Due to an aggressive redistricting operation, Ohio's current congressional map, enacted in December 2011, is gerrymandered to lock in a 12 to 4 advantage for Republican candidates," the plaintiffs in the case say.

According to the ACLU, "Although the number of Democrat and Republican voters in Ohio is roughly even, gerrymandering has allowed the Republican Party to secure 75 percent of the seats in the U.S. House of Representatives in every election since the map was drawn."

"If people pay attention to this trial I think they are going to be provoked and concerned at what happened here," ACLU Legal Director Freda Levenson says. 

She points out that even though congressional voters in Ohio are almost split 50-50 Democrat-Republican over the last decade, Republicans have won 75 percent of the races and not a single seat has changed hands.

According to Levenson, the Republican strategy was "to pack Democrats into four districts and to thinly disperse them across the other 12 so that the outcome of the election was pre-ordained."

A three-judge panel will hear the case. Plaintiffs include:

  • Ohio A. Philip Randolph Institute
  • League of Women Voters of Ohio
  • Northwest Ohio Young Black Democrats
  • OSU College Democrats
  • Hamilton County Young Democrats

Named defendants include Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and Senate President Larry Obhof.

The witness list includes plaintiffs, political scientists, former state Senator Nina Turner, Rep. Marcia Fudge and former U.S. House Speaker John Boehner.

The Secretary of State's office says it doesn't comment on pending litigation.

"The process of redistricting is inherently political and it needs a political solution," Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost told reporters February 19. "We have a new process in Ohio. And it's a much better process than what's gone on since the 1960s ... The voters have spoken ... I don't believe the courts are the place for politics."