Columbus, OH — Today, leaders of Fair Districts Ohio unveiled a model congressional map that complies with the Ohio Constitution, abides by the ruling of the Ohio Supreme Court, and delivers fairness and an end to gerrymandering to the voters. The coalition urged the state legislature to use the model map as a starting point in the official congressional mapmaking process.
“We’re proud to present a map drawn by Fair Districts advocates that ensures our congressional elections are fair, politically competitive, and free of gerrymandering,” said Catherine Turcer, Common Cause Ohio Executive Director. “Ohioans don’t want Republican maps or Democratic maps—they want fair maps that will deliver a government accountable to the people. Our model map meets the anti-gerrymandering requirements voters overwhelmingly approved and we look forward to its inclusion in the state-led process.”
The Fair Districts model map is better than the legislature-drawn map that the Ohio Supreme Court struck down last month, scoring high for proportionality, compactness, competitiveness and minority representation, while minimizing splits and closing the efficiency gap, all key indicators of a fair map. Most importantly, the map was drawn with the needs of Ohio’s communities in mind, not to unfairly favor one political party over another.
“This map is proof that it is in fact possible to draw fair maps that prioritize the needs of the voters ahead of the politicians in a completely transparent process,” said Jen Miller, League of Women Voters of Ohio Executive Director. “While this state legislature has led a secretive process to jam through gerrymandered maps, our community-driven effort has modeled what a truly transparent and accountable process looks like. Ohioans deserve to have a say in each step of the congressional map drawing process, from first draft to final maps.”
Last month, the Ohio Supreme Court struck down the legislature-drawn map, ruling it unconstitutional for not complying with the Ohio Constitution and the anti-gerrymandering reforms voters overwhelmingly approved. The General Assembly now has just 10 days to approve a new congressional map.
“This map demonstrates how simple and straightforward the redistricting process can be when partisan politics aren’t a factor,” said Paul Nieves, one of the winners of the Fair Districts Mapping Competition. “I’m thrilled to have been part of this process that has proven the people can lead a transparent process that results in maps that deliver free and fair elections to the voters. Redistricting is often overlooked, and I hope this effort has helped include more everyday Ohioans in such an important democratic process.”
“For me, redistricting is a highly rewarding puzzle – how can we deliver the best representation for communities of interest, while adhering to constitutional requirements and partisan fairness?” said Geoff Wise, Cincinnati resident. “This was truly a team effort, with open dialogue on each successive draft to make the best map we could for Ohio voters. They deserve compact, coherent districts to elect representatives who will support their communities’ interests.”
The Ohio Supreme Court has required the legislature to promptly deliver a fair congressional map that complies with all Constitutional requirements. Fair Districts is urging the legislature to start with this model map, and improve it through public comment as needed. By doing so they will be able to speedily deliver for the Court, for elections officials and candidates, and most importantly, for the people of Ohio.
Click here for the model congressional map.
Click here for a narrative about the model congressional map.