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Voter Rights Groups File Second Lawsuit Over Ohio's Congressional Map

 Sen. Rob McColley (R-Napoleon) presents a new Congressional district map, drawn by the Senate Republican Caucus.
Andy Chow
Ohio Public Radio
Sen. Rob McColley (R-Napoleon) presents a new Congressional district map, drawn by the Senate Republican Caucus.

A coalition of voter rights groups has filed a challenge to the state's new Congressional district map in the Ohio Supreme Court.

The ACLU of Ohio, League of Women Voters and the A. Philip Randolph Institute filed the lawsuit in the Ohio Supreme Court, along with other individuals named as plaintiffs in the case.

The challenge argues that the new congressional district map creates unnecessary splits, specifically naming Hamilton, Cuyahoga and Summit counties, in order to "minimize the efficacy of Democratic votes."

The map which passed the Ohio House and Senate with only Republican support, creates 12 out of 15 districts that favor Republicans.

Opponents of the map argue Republican lawmakers violated the constitution by not following the anti-gerrymandering reforms approved by voters in 2018.

“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," said Freda Levenson, ACLU of Ohio legal director, in a statement released Tuesday evening.

However, Gov. Mike DeWine and other Republican leaders say the map creates compact districts and avoids splitting most of Ohio's largest cities.

The same collection of groups filed a legal challenge to the new state legislative district maps that retain a Republican supermajority advantage in the Ohio House and Ohio Senate. Oral arguments for that case are scheduled for December 8.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.