Ohio

State website: Reshape Ohio
2010-cycle districts: Congress, State Senate, State House   « NEW 
2000-cycle districts: Congress, State Senate, State House, urban.csuohio.edu/nodis/gis_LDMaps.html
Primary governing law: Ohio Const. art. XI

The Latest

Congress: On September 21, the state legislature passed HB 319, which was signed on September 26. The law purported to limit the opportunity to file a referendum on the maps, but on October 14, the Ohio Supreme Court unanimously allowed the possibility of a referendum to the plan, with signatures (from 6% of the state's electors) due by December 25. On December 14, the state legislature passed HB 369, a revised congressional plan, which was signed by the governor on December 15.

State leg.: On September 28, the politician commission passed state Senate and state House lines, on a partisan vote. Challenges to the plan were defeated in the courts.

A voter initiative to change the redistricting process for 2021 qualified for the November 2012 ballot; there was litigation over the ballot language, and a complaint before the Ohio Elections Commission regarding allegedly false statements in a campaign flyer with respect to the measure. The measure was ultimately defeated in the 2012 general election.

On December 17, 2014, the legislature passed a state constitutional amendment, which would revise the redistricting process and criteria for 2020 and beyond; the measure will be submitted to voters in 2015. The amendment would expand the existing body for drawing state lines: the current three statewide officials, and a designee of the majority and minority leader of each state legislative chamber. The map will be valid for the decade if passed with the votes of at least two members of each major party; if passed by a partisan majority, the map will be valid for only four years. The plan retains, and tightens, the priority placed on not splitting counties or towns between districts. To the extent those constraints leave options, the plan may not be drawn primarily to favor or disfavor a party, and the plan must attempt to draw lines so that the partisan leaning of districts roughly echoes the electorate's statewide partisan preferences.

  • Institution

    Redistricting political control:

    Governor State Senate State House
    Congressional lines R 10 D, 23 R 40 D, 59 R
    State legislative lines Governor, Auditor, Secretary of State, R designee, D designee
    2000 cong. lines R 11 D, 21 R 39 D, 59 R
    2000 state lines Governor, Auditor, Secretary of State, R designee, D designee

    Ohio's congressional lines are drawn by the state legislature, as a regular statute, subject to gubernatorial veto. The members of the state House redistricting committee are listed here; the members of the state Senate committee are listed here.

    Ohio's state legislative lines are drawn by a five-member politician commission, in place since 1967. The commission consists of the Governor, Auditor, Secretary of State, one commissioner chosen by the speaker of the House in concert with his party's leader in the Senate; and the other chosen by the House minority leader along with his party's leader in the Senate. The members of the commission are listed here. [Ohio Const. art. XI, § 1]

    Both processes are aided by a 6-member advisory commission. The state Senate and state House majority leaders each appoint three members, at least one of whom must be from a different party, and at least one of whom must not be a legislator. [Ohio Rev. Code § 103.51]

    Ohio law gives the Ohio Supreme Court original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear challenges to state legislative lines filed in state court; if a state legislative plan is declared invalid, the politician commission will have an opportunity to redraw legal districts. [Ohio Const. art. XI, § 13]


  • Timing

    Census data were delivered to Ohio on March 9, 2011.

    Ohio state law does not impose a particular deadline for drawing congressional lines, though candidates must file for congressional primary elections by December 7, 2011. [Ohio Rev. Code § 3513.05] The regular legislative session began on January 3, 2011, and ends December 31, 2011.

    State legislative district lines must be drawn by October 1, 2011. [Ohio Const. art. XI, § 1] Candidates must file for state legislative primary elections by December 7, 2011. [Ohio Rev. Code § 3513.05]

    Ohio law prohibits redrawing state legislative districts mid-decade, before the next Census; there is no similar provision pertaining to congressional lines. [Ohio Const. art. XI, § 6]


  • Public input

    The legislative committees responsible for congressional redistricting, and the politician commission responsible for state legislative redistricting, conducted hearings trhough the summer. Minutes and materials for congressional redistricting are archived here, and minutes and materials for state legislative redistricting are archived here.

    The Secretary of State's office has made available a version of Maptitude Online for citizens to draw and submit their own district plans.


  • Criteria

    Like all states, Ohio must comply with constitutional equal population requirements, and with section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

    Ohio law further requires that state legislative districts be contiguous and compact. Districts must preserve whole political units -- counties, townships, municipalities, and wards, in that order -- where feasible. For counties sufficiently populous to contain entire legislative districts, such districts must be created wholly within the county, and any remaining territory in the county must be contained in only one legislative district. Where it is not possible to preserve political units whole, only one political unit may be divided between two legislative districts. [Ohio Const. art. XI, §§ 7, 9]

    State House districts must be nested within state Senate districts, so that each Senate district is made up of three House districts. [Ohio Const. art. XI, § 11]


  • 2010-cycle cases

    Ohio ex rel. Voters First v. Ohio Ballot Board, No. 2012-1443 (Ohio Sup. Ct.): a challenge in state court to ballot language describing a referendum to change the redistricting process for 2021.
         - Mandamus complaint (Aug. 23, 2012).
         - Merits brief & evidence (Aug. 27), response & evidence (Aug. 30), reply (Aug. 31).
         - Opinion granting writ, remanding for new language (Sept. 12).
    The latest: On September 12, the court determined that the proposed ballot language was misleading, and remanded for Ohio's Ballot Board to write new language describing the proposed initiative.

    Wilson v. Kasich, No. 2012-0019 (Ohio Sup. Ct.): a challenge in state court to the state legislative districts, based on alleged violations of the state constitution and of open meetings requirements.
         - Complaint and supporting affidavit (Jan. 4, 2012).
         - Resp. motion for judgment on pleadings, evidence (I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII) (Jan. 17).
              - Opposition (Jan. 27).
         - Plaintiffs' motion for order protecting court's jurisdiction (Jan. 13).
              - Response by SoS, Gov et al. (Jan. 19).
         - Plaintiffs' merit brief (Jan. 23).
              - Supporting deposition transcripts (exh.) (Jan. 17).
              - Supporting affidavits (Slagle, Pierre-Louis (app. 1, 2), McDonald (Jan. 17).
         - Merit briefs of SoS, Gov et al. (Jan. 30), plaintiffs' reply (Feb. 3).
         - Opinion barring 2012 challenge and preserving future challenge (Feb. 17).
         - Order requiring further briefing (Mar. 2).
              - Briefs of plaintiffs, SoS, Gov et al. (Mar. 23).
              - Responses by plaintiffs, Gov et al. (Mar. 30).
    The latest: On February 17, the state Supreme Court dismissed the open meetings claims on jurisdictional grounds, and barred the other claims on laches grounds with respect to the 2012 elections. However, it retained jurisdiction over those other claims with respect to future elections, ordered further briefing in March, and scheduled a hearing for April 24.

    State ex rel. Ohioans for Fair Districts v. Husted, No. 2011-1646 (Ohio Sup Ct.): a challenge in state court to the law containing the congressional plan, which purports to limit the ability to submit the plan to a referendum, as other state laws are subject to referendum.
         - Complaint and supporting affidavit (Sept. 28, 2011).
         - Challengers' merits brief and supporting evidence (Oct. 12).
         - Respondent SoS merits brief and supporting evidence (Oct. 12).
         - Reply briefs of challengers, intervenor General Assem., respondent SoS (Oct. 13).
         - Decision granting writ (Oct. 14).
    The latest: On October 14, the court unanimously granted the writ, allowing the possibility of a referendum to the state's congressional plan. If a referendum is to qualify, signatures must now be collected (from 6% of the state's electors) and filed by December 25, 2011. The new plan won't be legally valid until December 25, and if enough signatures qualify by that point, will continue to be invalid until a referendum is held on the plan.

    Ward v. Kasich, No. 2011-CVH-1847 (Ohio Ct. Common Pleas, Clermont County): a challenge in state court to the congressional districts, based on the fact that a referendum renders the most recent plan at least temporarily invalid, and based on the fact that existing districts (from 2001) are unequally populated.
         - Complaint (Oct. 17, 2011).
              - Intervenor Latourette's complaint (Nov. 14).
              - Answer, counterclaim, and crossclaim (Dec. 14).
         - Intervenor Ohioans for Fair Districts et al. motion to dismiss (Dec. 9).
         - Settlement agreement (Jan. 9).
         - Entry of dismissal without prejudice (Jan. 12).
    The latest: The complaint was filed on October 17, and a motion to dismiss was filed on December 9. The court's docket notes that a settlement agreement was reached on January 9, and the case was dismissed without prejudice on January 12.


  • 2000 cycle

    In the 2000 redistricting cycle, Ohio's commission enacted state legislative lines on October 1, 2001. The legislature passed a congressional plan, which was signed on January 24, 2002.

    The state legislative plan was challenged in federal court, and upheld. [Parker v. Ohio, 263 F. Supp. 2d 1100 (S.D. Ohio 2003), aff'd, 540 U.S. 1013]


  • Other state links

    Draw the Line Ohio (Public competition)

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