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Government & Politics

Citing the U.S. Supreme Court's 'Helpful Guidance,' ACLU Revises its Gerrymandering Challenge

Ohio's Congressional map based on the 2010 Census
SECRETARY OF STATE
Ohio's Congressional map -- and the way it was drawn in secrecy -- is key to the lawsuit.

In light of recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions on gerrymandering in two other states, voting-rights groups have revised their lawsuit over how Ohio draws its congressional maps. 

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio challenged the state’s redistricting law before the Supreme Court released its Maryland and Wisconsin decisions earlier this month. The justices didn’t rule on the constitutionality of redistricting in either state, saying there were procedural problems and sending them back to the lower courts. But the ACLU says the high court decisions did provide “helpful guidance” to challenge Ohio’s map-making. The revised suit notes that the justices have said partisan gerrymandering is ‘incompatible with democratic principles.’

The suit notes that seven of Ohio’s 16 districts are drawn in highly irregular, shapes and many districts slice apart communities.

In Ohio, districts are currently drawn by the state Legislature – now controlled by Republicans -- every 10 years, based on the Census. Voters overwhelmingly approved a change that encourages more bipartisan buy-in, but that change won’t take effect until after the next census in 2021. The lawsuit calls for changes before the 2020 election.

Click here to read the amended complaint.