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Government/Politics

Advocates Rally For Fair Congressional District Maps

FAIR DISTRICTS RALLY 2
DANIEL KONIK
/
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU
Advocates for fair districts rally at the Trinity Episcopal Church in downtown Columbus.

Citizens packed a church next door to the Ohio Statehouse to rally for "fair districts" and afterward they met with lawmakers.

A coalition of community groups fighting against gerrymandering are renewing their call for "fair maps" as legislators look to draw new Congressional district maps just days after elected officials approved maps that retain a Republican supermajority in the state legislature.

Jen Miller, League of Women Voters of Ohio executive director, says they're calling for a transparent process while drawing Congressional district lines.

Debbie Dalke Wood County voter on Broad and Third holding sign
Andy Chow
Debbie Dalke came to the Ohio Statehouse from Wood County to rally for "fair congressional districts."

"Ultimately resulting in maps that serve voters and not the selfish, short-sighted interests of political parties or individual candidates," says Miller.

If this sounds familiar it's because elected officials just approved new state legislative districts that keep Republican supermajorities in place.

The Ohio Redistricting Commission voted 5-2 to adopt four-year maps that lean towards 62 Republican House seats and 37 Democratic House seats, and 23 Republican Senate seats compared to 10 Democratic Senate seats.

Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) defends the state legislative maps approved by the commission saying the final measures were the only maps that abided by the constitution. The groups that oppose the maps argue the districts do not follow the guidelines put in the constitution by voters through a ballot issue in 2015.

Miller says they're looking into a possible lawsuit against the state district maps.

There’s been no process announced how state lawmakers will draw the Congressional map, but it likely won’t be done till the end of November. The process will have to cut the number of Congressional districts from 16 to 15.