Lawsuit To Stop GOP Gerrymandering Targeting Black Voters Pledged

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Voting rights lawyer Marc Elias has pledged a lawsuit against Ohio authorities over a newly enacted Congressional district map that hands Republicans an overwhelming majority of the state’s House seats, despite Trump’s much narrower win there in 2020. In other words, the map does not appear to appropriately reflect the actual Ohio population, and it stands to negatively impact Black voters in particular. As explained, for instance, by Cleveland.com: “The historical boundaries of the 11th Congressional District, currently represented by Rep. Shontel Brown, a Warrensville Heights Democrat, have generally been majority Black dating back to the 1960s” — but under the new map, that’s changing. Whites are now set to slightly outnumber Black residents in the district.

Brown herself said that she “think[s] that sort of context is important, especially as we are in a position now where so many states are working so hard to make voting harder, not easier, for Black communities and communities of color,” adding that the new lines were “disappointing to see.” In Hamilton County, meanwhile, which includes the city of Cincinnati, “the predominantly Black Northern suburbs [around Cincinnati]… were sequestered from the city,” Cleveland.com explains. Those responsible for the map “lumped in those Black suburbs in a district with more rural areas like Darke and Preble counties, diluting those historically Democratic votes into a district that is nearly 78% white and 61% Republican,” as the website further explains.

These tactics mean that the Black communities in these areas would likely find it more difficult to exercise the say that they’re supposed to have in the selection of representatives. Overall, Republicans appear on track to win 12 of Ohio’s 15 Congressional districts with the new map in place, which works out to 80 percent of the total — despite the fact that Trump won just a little over 53 percent of the vote in the state in 2020. In 2016 — when he won the country overall, meaning that Republicans did particularly well that year — Trump won about 51.3 percent of the vote in Ohio… and that’s it, no matter the high level of Republican favoring in the new Congressional map.

Under Ohio rules, the map that Ohio Republican Governor Mike DeWine recently signed into law is set to expire after just four years instead of the usual ten, because it was only backed by one party in the legislature. Not a single Democrat voted in favor of the lines. When DeWine was running for governor, he said in reference to those voter-approved rules that “the voters said that the redistricting process should be done in a bipartisan way and when I am governor there will be an expectation that the new district maps honor the voters’ wishes.” Here, he failed to deliver.