Judges won’t delay order for new Ohio congressional map

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The federal judges who found Ohio’s congressional map unconstitutional won’t delay
their order for a new map to be drawn by June 14, so the state will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to put
that on hold, the attorney general said Thursday.
A three-judge panel ordered the new map for the 2020 elections after concluding that Ohio’s congressional
districts were unconstitutionally drawn by Republicans for their political advantage. The same judges
declined Thursday to put their order on hold while Republican officials in Ohio appeal it.
Attorney General Dave Yost said that outcome was expected. He said Ohio will ask the Supreme Court to put
the order on hold pending the justices’ ruling on similar matters that are before them.
If the ruling stands, it could be an important victory for Democrats. They hope redrawn boundaries in
this longtime battleground state would help them gain House seats and deliver delegates for a Democratic
presidential nominee next year.
Secretary of State Frank LaRose repeated his comments about the judges’ conclusions Thursday, saying
he’ll work to administer fair elections in 2020 "pending the conclusion of the judicial
process." He noted that Ohio voters already had passed a bipartisan ballot initiative to change the
mapmaking process.
Ohio has 12 Republican congressmen and four Democratic representatives under the current map, which went
into effect for the 2012 elections.
Voters’ rights and Democratic groups that sued Ohio Republican officials argue that redistricting after
the 2010 census yielded a map that produced an impenetrable GOP advantage. They point to places such as
Cincinnati, a city dominated by Democrats but split into two districts now held by Republicans.
Attorneys for the Republicans have said that map was drawn with bipartisan support.
The court panel that considered the case consisted of two judges nominated by Democratic presidents and
one nominated by a Republican.
A different three-judge panel ruled recently in a similar case in Michigan , concluding that some of that
state’s districts must be redrawn because the congressional and legislative maps were unconstitutionally
gerrymandered. That ruling also is being appealed.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court already is considering a gerrymandering case that could lead to a major
decision on how far politicians can go in drawing districts. That case involves challenges to
congressional maps drawn by Democrats in Maryland and Republicans in North Carolina.
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Associated Press writers Andrew Welsh-Huggins and Dan Sewell contributed to this report.