A federal lawsuit filed Wednesday in Cincinnati seeks to toss out Ohio’s gerrymandered congressional district map on constitutional grounds and create more balanced districts in time for the 2020 election. If successful, the suit would move up the timetable by two years for congressional redistricting reform in Ohio. And it could jeopardize some of what otherwise would be safe incumbent seats during a presidential election year. Ohioans earlier this month voted overwhelmingly to establish rules aimed at eliminating political gerrymandering in time for the next scheduled map drawing, but those rules would not affect any election until 2022.
The current Ohio congressional map, created under secrecy and full Republican control in 2011, has resulted in districts making little geographic sense, stretching more than 100 miles, and predictable results with 12 reliably Republican districts created by packing Democrats into four solidly blue districts.
The ill effects of gerrymandering, and the need for change, was the focus of a months-long cleveland.com series – Out of Line: Impact 2017 and Beyond. Reform had support from both Republicans and Democrats.