Making Democracy Work


Fair Districts Committee Update: March 9, 2022

As of this date, the Ohio Supreme court has found the second set of legislative maps unconstitutional. The Ohio Redistricting Commission has worked on maps submitted by the minority, but no meeting time has been set to review the work, so the court-ordered deadline of new maps by February 17th is not likely to happen. Another deadline looming is March 19th, when the Uniformed and Overseas Absentee Voting Act says absentee ballots for eligible Ohioans should be sent out. The May primary date is in question with the delays by the ORC.

Congressional maps were also rejected by the Ohio Supreme Court and were sent back to the legislature for rework. The legislature failed to produce new maps within the 30 days allotted by the Ohio Supreme Court, so those maps are back in the hands of the ORC who now has 30 more days to produce new maps.

What can we do? We can call our State Senators and State Representatives asking for maps that are not gerrymandered. We can send postcards to the members of the ORC asking them to do their jobs and work with the minority and majority members to produce maps that are proportional to the voters in Ohio. Postcards, addresses and scripts will be available at the next LWV TLC membership meeting so you can send postcards.

We know that gerrymandering leads to extreme laws being made that most citizens do not favor, but lawmakers have no fear of losing their seats because of this practice.

Another day, another hearing, another watch party!

The Ohio Redistricting Commission has announced a hearing for tomorrow, Tuesday, 2/22, at noon. This time they are meeting to discuss Ohio's congressional map. They are meeting in the Ohio House Finance Hearing Room (Room 313) at the Ohio Statehouse.

Once again, you are invited to attend the hearing in person, or join us to watch the Ohio Channel broadcast together at our:

Fair Districts Ohio Redistricting Commission Watch Party

2/22/2022, 11:45am for a Noon hearing

Register Here!

We're going to keep this watch party simple (no Bingo, Jamboard, or redistricting games), but we will be watching together so we can answer questions, get updates from Fair Districts partners, and chat as much as we want.

Once again, we don't know what will happen at the hearing:

They might gavel in and immediately go on recess for hours. They might meet for a few minutes & pass a map none of us have ever seen before. They could stay and debate back and forth all afternoon and evening... We don't know, so we'll go with the flow!

Join us at 11:45am for the noon hearing, or pop in when you can. This hearing is about congressional redistricting. Read about our model congressional map, then take action:

Tell the Commission to adopt our model congressional map!

Meanwhile, of course, the drama around the state legislative maps continues. You probably saw that the Ohio Supreme Court issued an order requiring the Ohio Redistricting Commission to explain why they should not be held in contempt of court for not adopting state legislative maps as required by the court. The Commission must file their explanation by noon on Wednesday.

There were also further developments regarding the federal case filed on Friday attempting to reinstate the state legislative maps that were struck down by the court. On Feb. 20, the ACLU Ohio team filed a motion requesting to be allowed to intervene in the case.

Truly never a dull moment when it comes to the redistricting battle in Ohio.

We hope you are able to join us tomorrow, either at the Statehouse in the hearing room, or on Zoom to watch the proceedings together.

Another victory! Ohio Hose and Senate maps thrown out AGAIN

Good news! The Ohio Supreme Court has sent the Ohio Redistricting Commission back to the drawing board, again. The Commission now has until February 17 to redraw the Ohio House and Senate districts for a second time.

This was another 4-3 ruling. The majority wrote: "We made clear that we were invalidating the original plan, in its entirety, under Section 9(B). Yet the commission did not adopt an entirely new plan. [GOP-mapmakers] DiRossi and Springhetti started with the same plan that we invalidated and then merely adjusted certain districts just enough so that they could nominally be reclassified as `Democratic-leaning.'"

The opinion identifies obvious shenanigans: "Bluntly, the commission's labeling of a district with a Democratic vote share between 50 and 51 percent (in one case, a district having a 50.03 percent vote share) as "Democratic-leaning" is absurd on its face."

In other words, the court did not buy what the majority members of the Ohio Redistricting Commission were selling. Perhaps this third time round they will listen to what we've been saying all along: No more games. No more excuses. No more wasted time. Just follow the Constitution and draw fair maps!

Click here for today's decision.

Meanwhile, there are hearings Tuesday and Wednesday in the Ohio Senate on the redraw for Ohio's US congressional map. Show your support for fair maps by showing up if you can:

Tuesday 10:00 am, House Government Oversight Committee, Room 018 in the Ohio Statehouse NOTE: This previously scheduled hearing has been canceled!

Tuesday, 3:00 pm, Senate General Government Budget Committee, South Hearing Room, Ohio Senate Building

Wednesday, 10:00 am, Senate General Government Budget Committee, South Hearing Room, Ohio Senate Building

You can also watch these committees on the Ohio Channel (

Thanks for all you do,

Mia Lewis for Common Cause Ohio and Fair Districts

Tell your Ohio legislators to use the Fair Districts Model Congressional Map

Today, Fair Districts Ohio unveiled a model congressional map that meets all constitutional requirements, abides by the ruling of the Ohio Supreme Court, and delivers fairness and an end to gerrymandering to the people of Ohio. It is proof that it is in fact possible to draw fair maps that prioritize the needs of the voters ahead of the politicians.

On Jan. 26, state Sen. Rob McColley introduced Senate Bill 286 that states that they plan to enact a congressional map. This bill did not include a congressional map and there hasn't been a single hearing.

We are urging the state legislature to start with this model map,and improve it through public comment as needed. There is no reason to have a secretive, partisan process. We will not accept another gerrymandered map that violates what the voters overwhelmingly approved.


Tell your Ohio representative and senator to use the Fair Districts model congressional map as a starting point in their map-drawing process.

The Ohio General Assembly's first congressional map was struck down by the Ohio Supreme Court as unconstitutional because they violated the requirement that maps shall not favor or disfavor one political party over the other. That map split communities of interest, primarily metropolitan counties and municipalities, into multiple districts in a way that dilutes the voting power of Ohioans who live in those regions.

In stark contrast, Fair District Ohio's map is fair and keeps communities of interest together, with very few municipal and county splits. Fair Districts worked with map contest winners Paul Nieves and Geoff Wise to help create this map and included data and input from community maps and mappers all across the state.

The General Assembly now has just 10 days to submit a new congressional map. Meanwhile, we are still waiting for a decision from the Ohio Supreme Court on the second attempt of state Senate and House maps submitted by the Ohio Redistricting Commission.


The Ohio General Assembly needs to get to work right away on a fair, constitutionally compliant congressional map. Tell them use our model map as a starting point in their map-drawing process.

Thanks for all you do,

Lisa Wurm for League of Women Voters Ohio and Fair Districts

Further Information about the model map:

Click to see our press release

Click to see the model congressional map in Dave's Redistricting App

Click for a narrative about the model congressional map, slides, and a recording from the press conference

We're Two For Two

More good news! Just now the Ohio Supreme Court issued its decision striking down Ohio's gerrymandered congressional map approved by the General Assembly. First Ohio House and Senate maps were struck down, and now US congressional maps.

We hold that the congressional-district plan is invalid in its entirety because it unduly favors the Republican Party and disfavors the Democratic Party in violation of Article XIX, Section 1(C)(3)(a). We also hold that the plan unduly splits Hamilton, Cuyahoga, and Summit Counties in violation of Section 1(C)(3)(b). We order the General Assembly to adopt a new congressional-district plan that complies in full with Article XIX of the Ohio Constitution.

The court has given the legislature 30 days to draw a constitutionally compliant map. If they fail, the Ohio Redistricting Commission has another 30 days to try.

We are thrilled with this win! It's extremely gratifying to have Ohio's highest court agree with us that, "In our representative democracy, the power rests at all times with the people." In 2018, the people spoke, loud and clear. We amended the Ohio Constitution. The majority on the court is insisting that the new map drawn abide by the new rules. Seems reasonable to us!

Again, you are a part of this victory! So many people contributed, in so many ways. The thank yous would stretch for miles! We are proud and grateful to work with such passionate, dedicated, and generous advocates, supporters, and redistricting warriors.

Of course there is still much work to be done. Right now, we need to tell our state reps and senators what we expect from them: get started right away on a transparent mapmaking process that focuses on the voters. Click on the link to send a message.


Thanks for all you do,

Mia Lewis and the entire Fair Districts Team

PS: See this statement from Common Cause Ohio.

Supreme Court Decision

The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled 4-3 and struck down the gerrymandered Ohio House and Senate maps. The Ohio Redistricting Commission must reconvene and draw new maps within TEN DAYS. Read the opinion HERE.

Redistricting: Ohio Supreme Court strikes down state House and Senate maps, Jessie Balmert & Laura A. Bischoff, The Columbus Dispatch

Ohio Supreme Court orders redraw of Republican-drawn state legislative maps, Andrew J. Tobias and Laura Hancock,

"We hold that the plan is invalid because the commission did not attempt to draw a plan that meets the proportionality standard in Article XI, Section 6. We also conclude that the commission did not attempt to draw a plan that meets the standard in Section 6(A)--that no plan shall be drawn primarily to favor a political party. Because we declare the plan invalid under these sections, we do not decide whether the plan also violates the rights to equal protection, assembly, and free speech guaranteed under the Ohio Constitution. We order the commission to be reconstituted and, within ten days of this judgment, to adopt a new plan in conformity with the Ohio Constitution."

Many thanks for all you do,

Mia Lewis for Common Cause Ohio and Fair Districts

Lawsuit Filed

Yesterday, the ACLU of Ohio filed a lawsuit challenging Ohio's egregiously gerrymandered congressional map. They filed together with the American Civil Liberties Union and Covington & Burling LLP, on behalf of Fair Districts coalition partners the League of Women Voters of Ohio, A. Philip Randolph Institute, and eight individual voters. Here's a link to the ACLU Ohio's press release and click here to read the complaint itself.

The complaint highlights that the newly approved congressional map unduly favors the political party in power: "But despite receiving an anticipated 67% to 80% of the seats, the Republican Party is projected to receive only 55% of the votes."

"Our elected officials have once again flagrantly violated the will of Ohioans, who have repeatedly voted for fair districts. Judicial intervention is critical to prevent these self-serving officials from perpetuating the terrible tradition of extreme partisan gerrymandering in our state. A core principle of republican government is that the voters should choose their representatives, not the other way around," noted Freda Levenson, legal director for the ACLU of Ohio.

The lawsuit also identifies improper splitting of communities and states: "The map unduly splits governmental units in the urban and suburban areas of southwestern and northeastern Ohio. In particular, the Enacted Plan splits counties and communities in Hamilton, Cuyahoga, and Summit -- splits that are unnecessary for any purpose other than to minimize the efficacy of Democratic votes." The lawsuit challenges the map passed by the Ohio General Assembly (SB 258) and is directed at the members of the Ohio Redistricting Commission (ORC) and legislative leadership. If the court rules that the map needs to be redrawn, that duty will fall first to the state legislature and, if they are not successful, go back to the ORC. This is the second lawsuit filed against SB 258. The National Redistricting Action Fund also filed one last week. Read their press release HERE, and take a look at the complaint HERE.

Thanks for continuing to follow Ohio's difficult redistricting process. We're down but we're not out. The fight for fair maps continues!

Mia Lewis for Common Cause Ohio and Fair Districts

Governor DeWine signs the bill, but the fight goes on

t's been a long and exhausting few months. And now heartbreaking. This morning Gov. DeWine signed Senate Bill 258, the gerrymandered congressional four-year map.

It was hard to stomach the statement he made saying he was signing it because it kept cities whole and has "more competitive districts" than the current congressional map -- when we know this map to be an egregiously rigged partisan gerrymander. Governor DeWine owes more to the people of Ohio than simply toeing a party line. It's not wrong to feel angry.

This fight is not over. The rules put in place in 20215 and 2018 need to be enforced through the courts. If they are, we will get maps that are better than we have now.

No matter what, we want to thank you all for your hard work, and your selfless commitment to saving our democracy! Even though the gerrymandered congressional and state legislative maps have been approved, we are incredibly proud of all the work we have done together. Because of Ohio voters, there are new redistricting rules in the Ohio Constitution, and the new rules can and are being used to challenge bad maps in court. This is especially important because the US Supreme Court determined that the federal courts have no role in addressing partisan gerrymandering.

Let's look back on this year: Because of your support, we were able to organize thousands of Fair Districts advocates. These activists sent more than 50,000 postcards urging mapmakers to craft fair districts that keep communities together. Hundreds of Ohioans testified, attended hearings, and submitted written testimony urging an end to gerrymandering. Your support helped fuel the Fair Districts Mapping Competition in which citizen mapmakers demonstrated voting districts that are much fairer than those passed by the state legislature.

Stay tuned because this is not the end of our effort!

Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

Thank you for all you do,

Mia Lewis for Common Cause Ohio and Fair Districts

Call on Gov. DeWine to Veto this Gerrymandered Map!

After many missed deadlines and backroom deals, the Ohio House just a moment ago passed a gerrymandered Congressional map along party lines. Now the bill heads to the Governor for his signature. We need to tell Governor DeWine to take a stand and veto this rigged, partisan map!

Substitute Senate Bill 258 was rammed through at breakneck speed. It was passed despite the fact that the public and advocates had no chance to analyze the amended map, and their testimony was only accepted at one of two hearings.


The Congressional map is clearly gerrymandered; it slices and dices communities in order to achieve a rigged outcome benefitting one political party. It is the exact opposite of what voters demanded and won in the redistricting reforms put in place by the constitutional amendment that passed overwhelmingly in May of 2018.

Governor DeWine is the last check on stopping this unbalanced map that does not follow either the spirit or letter of Ohio's redistricting rules. Tell Governor DeWine to respect the Ohio Constitution and the will of the Ohio people and veto Substitute Bill 258.

Thank you for continuing the fight for fair maps!

Mia Lewis for Common Cause Ohio and Fair Districts

Click here to see Substitute Senate Bill 258 on Dave's Redistricting App.

Click here for a PDF of Substitute Senate Bill 258.

Tell Your Ohio Representative to Vote NO on Gerrymandered Map

Redistricting Update:

Today, the Ohio Senate passed a congressional map that was only introduced for the first time just a few hours earlier in the day. After delays and many missed deadlines, suddenly a gerrymandered GOP map is moving towards passage at breakneck speed.

Urge your State Representative to vote NO! Let your state Representative know that you do not accept gerrymandering and how Senate Bill 258 divides communities to advantage the political party in power.

What happened in the Ohio Senate:

The day began in the Ohio Senate Local Government and Elections Committee; Senator McColley introduced a new (and completely different) version of the GOP congressional map (Senate Bill 258). McColley only announced plans to amend the bill at 8:12 pm the night before. While the Republican committee members were provided with a PDF last night, shapefiles (necessary for detailed analysis) were not provided to the public or minority committee members until minutes before the hearing started.

Despite the fact that the public and advocates had no chance to analyze the new map, the hearing was treated as the final hearing, a vote was held and the bill passed along party lines. It was then referred to the full Senate where it later passed, 24-7, again along party lines.

What's next:

Already, a hearing is scheduled in the Ohio House Government Oversight Committee for tomorrow, Wednesday, November 17, with the bill marked for sponsor testimony.


What's wrong with the Senate Bill 258 Congressional map:

The map divides populous counties, dilutes the power of minority representation, and advantages the political party in power. The map unduly favors Republicans and assures a minimum of 11 Republican seats, with a most likely result of 12 Republican, and 3 Democratic seats. Cuyahoga County and Hamilton County remain divided into three districts, and Cincinnati remains locked within a clearly gerrymandered district in a clear effort to dilute the urban vote. While the GOP caucus claims the map has more competitive districts, the truth is that most of the supposedly toss up districts actually safely favor the majority party. This map proposal fails the spirit of fair districting demanded by Ohioans.

Click here to see Substitute Senate Bill 258 on Dave's Redistricting App.

Click here for a PDF of Substitute Senate Bill 258.

Join us in taking action! This legislation is moving quickly and we must do what we can to stop this gerrymandered map in its tracks.

Thank you for all you do,

Mia Lewis, Common Cause Ohio for Fair Districts

Last Stand for a Fair Congressional Map

After months of delay and several missed deadlines, suddenly the Ohio House and Senate are rushing towards the conclusion of the redistricting process -- getting ready to pass a grotesquely gerrymandered congressional map as early as this Thursday.

Senate Bill 258 -- a rigged congressional map that splits communities and deprives minority voters of their electoral power -- is poised to pass out of the Ohio Senate Local Government and Election Committee and have a floor vote tomorrow, November 16. Your State Senator needs to hear from you today! Urge them to vote NO on Senate Bill 238.


Make no mistake, Senate Bill 258 (SB 258) clearly and purposefully violates the reforms that were put in place by Ohio voters in 2018.

The map divides communities, proposes districts that are anything but compact, and it denies full representation to minority voters. Senate Bill 258 repeatedly and unnecessarily slices and dices the most populous counties in order to achieve a map that is grotesquely rigged in favor of the majority party. These county splits impact nearly a third of Ohioans (31.26%).

Instead of representation that reflects the way Ohioans have voted in statewide elections over the past decade -- 54% Republican and 46% Democratic -- SB 258 will likely result in Ohio sending 13 Republican and 2 Democrats to Washington to represent us. This bill is worse even than the current gerrymandered map.

The chair of the Ohio House Government Oversight Committee is so confident that Senate Bill 258 will pass that he announced a hearing on the bill for Wednesday, 10:00 AM in room 122.

Let's stop Senate Bill 258 in its tracks! Urge your state Senator to vote NO on Senate Bill 258! This bill is moving quickly and our Senators need to hear from us. It is important that these mapmakers repudiate this congressional map that manipulates Ohio voters.

We have been fighting for fair maps and fair elections for a long time and we are coming to the final congressional map deadline, November 30. Let's make it clear that Ohio voters deserve better!

Thank you for all you do,

Mia Lewis, Common Cause Ohio & Fair Districts

Fair Districts Update

The Ohio Redistricting Commission has abdicated its duty to draw a congressional map, so that task is going back to the General Assembly. Yesterday we sent them a letter with several demands:

Schedule field hearings as soon as possible; Consider maps submitted by the public; Invite testimony from diverse academics and experts. Publish a clear process for decision-making, and full schedule for the month of November that details all public hearings and joint committee meetings. You can read the full text of the letter HERE. You can help keep the pressure on by emailing your Ohio legislators. We demand that the process for drawing congressional maps be transparent and thorough, to ensure the result is the fair maps required in the Ohio Constitution!


It looks like we won't have to wait long for more redistricting action. The Ohio Senate Democrats have already put forward a map.

Update on bills to introduce maps: Senate President Matt Huffman told reporters that there will be a hearing this coming Wednesday (11/3). At that hearing, he said that the committee will consider two bills:

Senate Bill 237, a bill proposed by Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko (D-Cleveland) and Senator Vern Sykes (D-Akron). Click here to see the map on Dave's Redistricting App.

Senate Bill 258, a placeholder bill that simply declares an intention to enact congressional districts. This bill is sponsored by Senator Rob McColley (R-Napoleon).

There has not been an official announcement so we don't know what time the hearing will be. Mark your calendar for Wednesday and we will keep you updated!

Thanks for all you do,

Mia Lewis for Common Cause Ohio and the Fair Districts team

Announcing winner of the Fair Districts Congressional Mapping Competition

Today, leaders of Fair Districts Ohio announced the winners of the Fair Districts Redistricting Competition for Ohio's U.S. congressional map. The competition was designed not only to produce constitutional maps that could serve as alternatives to any maps proposed by Ohio's official mapmakers, but to educate Ohioans about how maps can be adapted, improved, and revised with public input. Citizen mapmakers, using free software available on the Internet, were able to craft maps that checked all the boxes: keeping communities together, minority representation, representational fairness, and also competitiveness. Winning maps can serve as a starting point for the official mapmakers.

"We thank all of our contestants and their collective success in submitting a high number of stellar maps to the Fair Districts Mapping Competition. Maps were vetted to ensure they follow all legal criteria and were evaluated through a variety of methods. These assessments reveal the exceptional success of the three winning maps in creating congressional districts that achieve high levels of proportionality while minimizing splits, maximizing compactness, and maintaining communities of interest," said Dr. Christopher Cusack, Technical Manager of the Fair Districts Ohio Mapping Competition. "Undoubtedly, these winning maps provide a standard that the people of Ohio should expect the Ohio Redistricting Commission to match or surpass."

The three congressional district map winners are 1st place John Hagner from Yellow Springs, Ohio; 2nd place Paul Nieves from Yonkers, New York, and 3rd place Riley Jones from Loveland, Ohio.

"With nearly forty submissions, our congressional mapping competition demonstrates that congressional districts can be drawn with few county splits and a commitment to keeping communities together," said Catherine Turcer, executive director of Common Cause Ohio. "Our winning maps should be considered by the official mapmakers. These proposed voting districts can inspire our leaders as they consider how best to create a congressional map for the next decade."

The congressional portion of the Fair Districts Mapping Competition began on August 27. A sixteen-member advisory committee made up of a diverse collection of community leaders served as the judging panel for map submissions. Dr. Chris Cusack provided an overview of all the maps submitted minus the names of contestants to ensure no bias in selecting the winners. The committee deliberated over the selection of winners for nearly a week.

The following are quotes from the three winners of the congressional districts portion of the mapping competition:

"Redistricting is all about trade-offs, but what this map shows is that it's possible to balance minority representation, representative fairness, and competitive districts with boundaries that make sense and reflect Ohio communities," said John Hagner of Yellow Springs and congressional map winner. "Tortured lines, and split communities, and districts that sprawl across the state are deliberate choices to make elections less competitive, and we can demand better."

"I am thrilled that my map reached the finalist stage, but I am more thrilled by the potential for this map to be used as a starting point for establishing fair congressional districts in Ohio for the next decade," said Riley Jones of Loveland and congressional map winner. "I'm glad that a competition such as this one took place, because it really demonstrates how easy and straightforward the redistricting process can be if you go into it with a clear conscience and set aside your political biases in favor of creating districts that properly represent the people of Ohio."

"Over the past decade, I've developed a passion for redistricting by utilizing Dave's Redistricting App to draw fair Congressional and State Legislative Districts," said Paul Nieves, congressional map winner from Yonkers, NY. "I learned about this contest via the Princeton Gerrymandering Project Mapping Corps, of which I'm a member, and I entered the contest to apply my skills in demonstrating a fair Ohio Congressional District Plan. If we're living in a representative democracy, it's essential to have representation that appropriately reflects the population."

The Ohio Redistricting Commission has already approved new Ohio General Assembly maps. Despite voter-approved measures requiring bipartisan maps that end gerrymandering in Ohio, state legislators approved highly partisan state legislative maps -- that will be in place for four years rather than 10 years. These newly approved four-year district lines give Republicans the advantage in 62 of 99 House districts and 23 of 33 Senate districts, securing prolonged supermajorities.

Today is the deadline for the state legislature -- with support from 50% of both Democratic and Republican members -- to approve congressional districts. No action has been taken and it's unlikely that the Ohio General Assembly will act. The mapmaking authority will move to the Ohio Redistricting Commission with a deadline of Oct. 31. The final deadline for congressional maps is November 30.

The mapmakers are bound by the reform measures that nearly 75 percent of voters approved. These reforms focus on bipartisan transparent mapmaking that keeps counties whole as much as possible. Fair Districts Ohio will continue to advocate for greater public debate and engagement, in addition to voicing support for consideration of the maps from the Mapping Competition.

  • Click here for the 1st place map created by John Hagner and here for his narrative describing mapmaking choices.
  • Click here for the 2nd place map created by Paul Nieves, and here for his narrative describing mapmaking choices.
  • Click here for the 3rd place map created by Riley Jones, and here for his narrative describing mapmaking choices.
  • For more information about the competition, rules, and mapping criteria, click here.

    ACLU of Ohio, LWV-Ohio, and APRI Launch Legal Challenge over Ohio Partisan Gerrymandering

    September 23, 2021

    The Ohio Redistricting Commission + which is dominated by Republicans + approved the maps last week in a 5-2 party-line vote, disrespecting the letter and spirit of the constitutional reforms passed overwhelmingly by Ohio voters in 2015. The maps lock in Republican veto-proof supermajorities in both chambers of the Ohio General Assembly.

    "If you want a clear lesson in partisan gerrymandering, this is it. This is a brazen abuse of power by the political party that is in control. Talk about the fox guarding the henhouse," said Alora Thomas-Lundborg, senior staff attorney with ACLU's Voting Rights Project. "Redistricting should not be a one-sided, rigged political process. Voters should pick their politicians. Politicians should not pick their voters."

    New maps are drawn from a once-in-a-decade redistricting process that determines the allocation of political power and representation at every level of government across the country for the next 10 years.

    According to the lawsuit, over the past decade, Republicans have received between 46.2% and 59.7% of the statewide vote. But the enacted map draws 67% of the House districts and 69% of the Senate districts to favor Republicans, assuring Republican veto-proof supermajorities in both chambers.

    "This extreme partisan gerrymander is a flagrant violation of the Ohio Constitution. Several majority members of the Redistricting Commission candidly admitted as much, even as they voted to enact this manipulative scheme. The blatant defiance of the reforms that were overwhelmingly passed by Ohio voters just six years ago is not only a violation of law, but is also a slap in the face to the people of this state. We are going to this state's highest court to ensure that Ohio Voters are able to have a voice in their government," said Freda Levenson, legal director of the ACLU of Ohio.

    According to the lawsuit, "This brazen manipulation of district lines for extreme partisan advantage doubly dishonors the voters of this state: by adopting a map that utterly fails to correspond with voters' preferences as manifested by the vote share of the two major parties' candidates over the past decade; and by openly defying a constitutional amendment adopted overwhelmingly by Ohio voters just six years ago, which sought to put an end to precisely this kind of extreme partisan gerrymandering."

    "The recently adopted Ohio Senate and Ohio House legislative maps disrespect voters and the Ohio Constitution. Ohioans demonstrated their support for fair, responsive legislative districts overwhelmingly at the ballot box in 2015 and recently through robust participation in the Ohio Redistricting Commission's rushed and chaotic process. After decades of working to end partisan gerrymandering in the Buckeye State, the League of Women Voters of Ohio asks the Ohio Supreme Court to defend the rights of everyday Ohioans to have legislative districts that serve and represent them rather be rigged to favor the short-sighted and selfish interests of political parties and candidates," said Jen Miller, Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio.

    "The gerrymandered map that was enacted disproportionately affects minority voters and minority communities and prevents people of color from having a meaningful impact in Ohio politics," said Andre Washington, president of the Ohio A. Philip Randolph Institute.

    "The enacted map is a gross violation of the Ohio Constitution," said Robert Fram of Covington & Burling. "The Ohio Constitution requires that the partisan balance of House and Senate districts correspond closely to the statewide preferences of the voters of Ohio. This is an illegal map, plain and simple."

    The case is League of Women Voters of Ohio v. Ohio Redistricting Commission.

    Redistricting Yields New Ohio Legislative Maps Without Bipartisan Support

    Shortly after midnight with a 5-2 vote along party lines, Republicans approved a four-year map that would likely secure a supermajority for their party. We look at Ohio's new state legislative maps and the process that got us here.

    To listen to the podcast click here

    Fair Districts Ohio Express Frustration over the Newly Approved Ohio House & Senate Districts

    COLUMBUS-- Leaders of the Fair Districts Ohio coalition expressed disappointment and dissatisfaction over the newly approved Ohio House and Senate district maps and the Ohio Redistricting Commission's process to approve the maps over intense public criticism. At nearly midnight, the Ohio Redistricting Commission voted to approve extreme gerrymandered maps along partisan lines that will be enacted for four years.

    "Ohio voters expected a transparent process with public deliberation," said Catherine Turcer of Common Cause Ohio. "The Ohio Redistricting Commission heard from hundreds of Ohioans about their frustration with backroom deals and the need for greater transparency. Rather than responding to the criticism, the Commission met briefly this morning and recessed for further negotiation out of the public eye. The Commission didn't reconvene until forty-five minutes before the midnight deadline and then enacted a map along party lines that disregards the letter and spirit of the reforms passed in 2015. We are disappointed in both the process and the result."

    "The Ohio Redistricting Commission missed a momentous opportunity to restore faith in our democratic republic," said Jen Miller of the League of Women Voters of Ohio, "Ohioans passed redistricting reform in 2015 and 2018 with over 70% of the vote and then showed up in droves pleading for a transparent, bipartisan process that would result in fair, representative maps. Instead, Ohioans got more of the same: a breakdown in the bipartisan process and maps that serve the short-sighted interests of political parties, not voters. Ohioans deserve better."

    Fair Districts Ohio is still reviewing the Ohio House and Senate maps and considering next steps, including possible litigation and ballot initiatives in the future. In the meantime, Fair Districts Ohio calls upon Ohio lawmakers to begin a more transparent and deliberative public process that results in bipartisan Congressional districts that keep communities together and put the needs of voters first.


    Fair Districts Ohio held a press conference this morning and discussed the Senate Democrats' proposed General Assembly maps. The conference featured analysis from Dr. Chris Cusack, Professor Emeritus of Geography (Keene State College) and a breakdown from Dr. Brian Glassman, Legal Writing Professor Emeritus (Cleveland Marshall College of Law) on the constitutionality of the map and the process moving forward. Catherine Turcer of Common Cause Ohio and Jen Miller of League of Women Voters of Ohio also spoke on the redistricting process and steps moving forward to ensure fair maps and fair districts for Ohio.

    "With the new redistricting rules in place, we have a right to expect mapmaking to be different in 2021 than it was in 2011. The Ohio Redistricting Commission should not be crafting and reviewing maps in secret," said Catherine Turcer of Common Cause Ohio. "The Ohio Redistricting Commission needs to identify how the members are going to work together and announce a new timeline for mapmaking including more than 24 hours notice for each hearing and a complete schedule of public hearings so citizen advocates can fully prepare to participate in a meaningful way."

    "More than a thousand Ohioans showed up at field hearings last week asking the Ohio Redistricting Commission for a fair, transparent process and maps that truly represent them. Instead, the Commission has missed its first deadline without even setting forth a clear process for reviewing maps or a proposed deadline for making up for lost time," said Jen Miller, Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio. "We are also concerned that the Ohio General Assembly may miss its first deadline, given they have not even begun the process. We call on mapmakers to get to work right away through a transparent, robust process that truly meets the expectations of Ohio Voters."

    "The rules for redistricting are set forth in the Ohio Constitution and clarified by federal law. It is essential that the leaders of our redistricting process communicate clearly and accurately about the rules and the process," said Dr. Brian Glassman, Legal Writing Professor Emeritus.

    "A top level empirical analysis of the General Assembly map plan presented by the Senate Democrats shows they adhered to the prescribed constitutional criteria. This map could serve as a starting point as the Ohio Redistricting Commission begins their negotiations," said Dr. Chris Cusack, Professor Emeritus of Geography, Keene State College.

    Click here to download a PDF of the slides presented at the conference.

    Fair Districts Ohio is a non-partisan team of voter advocates and organizations working to create a more equitable, functioning democracy by campaigning for fair state legislative and congressional maps. Without the efforts of these nonpartisan voices for redistricting reform, Ohio voters would not have adopted reforms to the map-drawing process in 2015 and 2018 in all 88 counties and with more than 70% of the vote.

    State Legislative Update

    While the Ohio Legislature is still on summer break, Governor DeWine has finally convened the Ohio Redistricting Commission. It began the work of the public input process last week with a series of 10 town-hall style meetings across the state. Ohioans from every region, representing a wide range of backgrounds and demographics, voiced their demand for fair legislative districts. New maps have not yet been publicly shared, nor are Ohioans privy to how exactly they are being drawn. Rather, public discussion and comments centered around current maps and desires for future hypothetical maps.

    Amidst confusion as to how and by whom a new district map would be drawn, the Redistricting Commission met today (August 31) to adopt rules. The Commission is set to miss its September 1 deadline to introduce a legislative district map, but can still approve a 10-year map by the final September 15 deadline with majority approval and support from the group's only two Democrats. The seven-member group can pass a 4-year map with a simple majority vote.

    While it is believed that both Republicans and Democrats are drawing their own maps behind closed doors, Speaker Cupp noted that the commission would accept premade maps from lawmakers' staffs, good government groups and the public, and pick one of those maps that meets constitutional requirements to put forth for public comment. According to the rules adopted today, a commission-backed map must receive three public hearings on separate days and in different cities, after which the commission would revise the map based on public input.

    The Legislature has until September 30 to approve bi-partisan congressional district maps.

    What can you do to fight for fair districts?

    Sign up to attend Fair Maps Day at the Ohio Statehouse

    Sign the petition to demand Fair Districts now!

    Two Exciting Announcements from Fair Districts

    1. The Ohio Redistricting Commission has set up a website with details about hearing locations and how to submit testimony. Access the Ohio Redistricting Commission website HERE.

    The website has info you need about:

  • Meeting locations and parking;
  • How to submit written testimony;
  • Resources;
  • and
  • How to view the hearings online.
  • We are encouraging everyone to attend these ten public hearings if at all possible! If you plan to testify in person, submit written testimony, or just show up for support, let us know by filling out this form. We will send you additional resources and also can review your testimony before you submit if you like. Send draft testimony to If you have already submitted testimony, we are working through a lot submissions and will get back to you as soon as possible.

    2. Fair Districts today launched its state legislative mapping competition! Access the Fair Districts Mapping Competition website HERE.

    A few details:

  • The deadline for submission for Ohio House and Senate maps is midnight on Sept. 6.
  • Prizes are as follows: First Place $1000, Second Place $500, Third Place $250
  • Everyone who submits a complete and compliant map or set of maps will be entered into a drawing for a cash gift card. We are awarding ten $25 gift cards. (You can only win once!)
  • We encourage mappers to use DistrictR, DistrictBuilder, or Dave's Redistricting App, although maps drawn with any software will be accepted
  • Technical assistance available from Fair Districts
  • FYI: We'll be launching the U.S. congressional mapping competition early next week, with a submission deadline of September 15 at midnight.

    Save the Date for Fair Maps: September 21 at the Statehouse

    The Ohio Redistricting Commission had its first meeting last Friday (8/6), and Census data is set to be delivered this coming Thursday (8/12). In other words, Ohio's official mapmaking process is finally getting underway -- and it's more important than ever to say with one voice: We demand Fair Maps!

    That's why we're asking each and every one of you to sign and share this petition.

    We also want you to mark your calendars for a full day of action in Columbus on Tuesday, September 21:

    Fair Maps Day is going to be our biggest, most important in-person event as we come together from all across Ohio to demand fair maps!

    We are planning a combination press conference, march, action, lobby day, and show of force that official mapmakers will not be able to ignore. Imagine the Ohio Statehouse filled with Fair District advocates from all over Ohio! We're counting on you -- the Ohioans who have been in the fight from the beginning -- to show up and speak up for fair districts!

    We have a full day of action planned (10AM-2PM), including scheduled lobby visits, a march around the statehouse, speeches and more. Check out the event schedule and additional information HERE. We are asking each and every one of you to join us!

    We are inviting Fair Maps activists from every county in Ohio. As soon as you register, we can get to work scheduling lobby visits for you to meet one-on-one with your legislators to drive home how much you care about fair maps. We'll provide training and talking points to make your visit as effective as possible. We will also be encouraging participants to attend committee hearings.

    For maximum impact, we'll be wearing coordinated Fair Maps t-shirts, and we'll have banners and signs for you to hold and wave. We plan to be seen and heard so legislators cannot ignore our message.


    The fight for fair districts is now! Please join us.

    Thanks for all you do,

    Mia Lewis for Common Cause Ohio and Fair Districts

    P.S. In case you missed it, check out this opinion piece from Catherine Turcer about the need for fair maps and a fair redistricting process.

    Update and Action from Fair Districts

    This morning the Ohio Redistricting Commission held its first meeting. They adjourned after just 15 minutes, after naming the appointed members of the commission, as follows:

  • Senate President Matt Huffman (appointed himself)
  • Speaker Bob Cupp (appointed himself)
  • Senator Vern Sykes (appointed by Senate Minority Leader Yuko)
  • House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes (appointed herself)
  • These appointed members join Governor DeWine, Secretary of State LaRose, and Auditor Faber. The Commission will be co-chaired by Republican Speaker Bob Cupp and Democratic Senator Vern Sykes.

    President Huffman announced that there will be nine public hearings about the state legislative maps -- but we have no details about time or location of the meetings. AND, we still do not know when or how the commission plans to set up a submission portal for citizen-created maps.

    Right now, all of us who care about fair maps NEED TO KEEP THE PRESSURE ON! Join us in taking two important actions right now:

  • Sign a petition to official mapmakers telling them we demand fair maps and a fair map-making process.
  • Send an email to your lawmakers and the members of the Redistricting Commission asking them to set up the submission portal for citizen-drawn maps.
  • Please sign the petition even if you have signed one before! And please share both of these actions as widely as possible! Now is when pressure is the most important.

    FYI, yesterday we learned map-making may get underway even sooner than we expected, as the Census will be releasing data on August 12 (instead of 16). Immediate action from our official mapmakers is even more important.

    Thank you for all that you do,

    Mia Lewis, Common Cause Ohio for Fair Districts

    Volunteers Needed: Postcard Blast

    Postcards are being sent to the 7 members of the Ohio Redistricting Commission and to your own State Rep and State Senator. Yard Signs are also available. Members are invited to help out by contacting Nancy Gurney at

    Fair Districts Yard Signs Have Arrived!

    Signs are now at volunteer distribution locations around the state. Find the closest place near you by using this handy Fair Districts sign location map. Zoom in to your general location to find contact information for a sign distributor near you. Contact the volunteer directly to arrange for a time you can pick up your sign. (Folks who can't find a spot near them on the map can fill out this form or be in touch with us by email.)

    Tell Ohio Mapmakers to Get to Work

    Send postcards telling Ohio mapmakers to tell them, "Ohioans want fair districts!" Order cards HERE and see instructions HERE.

    And/or, call your Ohio Representative and Senator to tell them to get to work on redistricting! You can use the points listed in the instructions above, and look up their contact information HERE.

    Voting Rights Advocates Call on Ohio General Assembly and Ohio Redistricting Commission to Begin Map-Making Process in Light of New Census Schedule

    COLUMBUS- Today, Fair Districts Ohio - the leading nonpartisan voice for redistricting reform - sent a letter to Ohio mapmakers with specific recommendations to ensure transparent and fair mapmaking in light of adjusted delivery date for Census data.

    "In 2015 and 2018, Ohio leaders worked with voter advocates to craft new redistricting processes that were overwhelmingly supported by Ohioans across the state," said Jen Miller of the League of Women Voters of Ohio. "Now we must work together again to fulfill the promise of those reforms. Let's start now by reworking timelines in light of the new Census schedule and hosting public hearings where experts and voters can speak to the need for fair maps."

    Click here for the link to Fair Districts' recommendations

    "Map-makers and the public need a clear game plan based on information from experts and the public. It's time to start public hearings so that we can determine how to make the map-making process work best," said Sam Gresham of Common Cause Ohio.

    "In untenable circumstances such as this, it is reasonable and legally possible for a court to grant relief," added Professor Jessie Hill, Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development at Case Western School of Law.

    "Deciding how Ohio proceeds with the new redistricting timeline should be as transparent as possible to give Ohioans confidence in this historically secretive process. This is an opportunity for map-makers to show the people that their voices are heard and their votes matter. Redistricting needs to start now, " said Collin Marozzi of ACLU Ohio

    About Fair Districts Ohio: Fair Districts Ohio is led by the League of Women Voters of Ohio and Common Cause Ohio in partnership with ACLU Ohio, Ohio Council of Churches, A. Philip Randolph Institute, and many more. Without the efforts of these nonpartisan voices for redistricting reform, Ohio would not have adopted reforms to the map-drawing process in 2015 and 2018 without our efforts.

    Background About Census Data: This year Ohio maps will be drawn with new rules and a new redistricting process for state legislative and congressional map-making. In February, the Census Bureau announced that the detailed census information will be available to all states on September 30. The state of Ohio demanded that the Census Bureau provide needed data by the end of March. On March 23, Census Acting Director Ron Jarmin told the US Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee that detailed data necessary for map-making will be sent to states by September 30, and that the Census Bureau will provide less user-friendly "legacy data" in August. On March 24, a federal judge rebuffed the state of Ohio's lawsuit to garner census data by March 31. The state almost immediately appealed. The 6th Circuit panel of Judges Martha Craig Daughtrey, David McKeague & Amul Thapar will hear the appeal and a ruling is not expected until mid-April at the earliest.

    People Powered Fair Maps

    People Powered Fair Maps™ is a national redistricting program of the League of Women Voters focused on creating fair political maps nationwide in all 50 states + D.C. In June of 2019 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Rucho v. League of Women Voters of North Carolina that no fair test exists for courts to determine when partisan gerrymandering has gone too far. As a result, federal courts will be hands-off in the redistricting process even when new district lines are drawn to intentionally decrease the voting power of voters based solely on their political party. People Powered Fair Maps was launched in September 2019 to create fair and transparent, people-powered redistricting processes that eliminate partisan and racial gerrymandering nationwide. for more information of the redistricting process click here