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Government/Politics

Ohioans present congressional district maps to redistricting commission

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Daniel Konik
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Statehouse News Bureau
Ohio Redistricting Commission holds hearings on proposed congressional district maps from the public on February 23, 2022.

The Ohio Redistricting Commission held hearings Wednesday on proposed congressional district maps for the first time since the plan adopted by the General Assembly was rejected by the Ohio Supreme Court.

Individual citizens and a coalition of community groups offered testimony on their proposed congressional district maps before the Ohio Redistricting Commission.

Among the proposals was one from Paul Miller, who accused "Democrat activists" and "liberal hacks" of proposing a congressional map that has been gerrymandered.

Miller says his map, which creates nine Republican districts and four Democratic districts with two competitive districts is "as great a concession as the GOP can make without blatantly violating our state’s constitution several ways."

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Andy Chow
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Statehouse News Bureau
Paul Miller presents his proposed congressional district map to the Ohio Redistricting Commission on February 23, 2022.

Miller was criticizing the target ratio of a map that splits about 54% Republican and 46% Democratic. But that's the partisan proportionality deemed constitutional by the Ohio Supreme Court.

The court already invalidated a congressional district map approved by the House and Senate for not matching that partisan split ratio.

The commission also heard from Fair Districts Ohio, a coalition of voter rights and community groups.

Catherine Turcer, a member of the coalition and executive director of Common Cause Ohio, says their map achieves "representational fairness" while also creating competitive districts.

Turcer says their congressional district map has the potential to create eight Republican-leaning districts and seven Democratic-leaning districts. Among those districts, three were considered competitive, according to Turcer.

"I would encourage you to go through the different areas here and to take a look and see the different ways that we created this so that we were reflecting what it was that different folks around Ohio said that they wanted," says Turcer.

Commission co-chair and House Speaker Bob Cupp (R-Lima) did not indicate a timeframe for when he would like to see the commission adopt a new congressional district map. The commission has until mid-March to pass a new plan.

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