Court Strikes Down Republican Voter Suppression In Ohio

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Republicans have been very vocal about their opposition to a voting rights bill, insisting that the bill is unconstitutional and unnecessary. However, GOP-led states are carrying out a mission to ensure that the black vote is heavily diluted.

In a 4-3 vote in Ohio, judges ruled that Ohio’s new voting map is a clear example of partisan gerrymandering and struck it down as unconstitutional. The decision was celebrated by advocates of voters in the state and the decision could spread across others states, like Georgia and Texas, who are trying to pull off the same policies.

According to The Columbia Dispatch, Attorney Freda Levenson, legal director for the ACLU of Ohio, said that:

‘The Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the Ohio Redistricting Commission – which is tasked with drawing legislative maps and dominated by Republicans – could not ignore parts of the Ohio Constitution that required them to attempt to match the statewide voting preferences of voters, according to the court’s majority opinion, written by Justice Melody Stewart.’

The decision came from a court that is dominated by Republican nominees, with one more conservative justice voting with liberal justices to tip the balance. One of the justices noted that the new congressional maps, built by a large GOP majority in Ohio, did not do its job on ensuring everyone can choose candidates who represents them and their interests.

Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor of the Ohio State Court, the lone conservative who voted with her liberal colleagues, said that:

‘The commission is required to attempt to draw a plan in which the statewide proportion of Republican-leaning districts to Democratic-leaning districts closely corresponds to those percentages,” Stewart wrote. “Section 6 speaks not of desire but of direction: the commission shall attempt to achieve the standards of that section.’

Lawyers for the state of Ohio argued that Republicans have a mandate in Ohio because voters in the state typically vote red instead of blue. O’Connor determined that the partisan gerrymandering, however, is unconstitutional.

O’Connor said that:

‘Having now seen firsthand that the current Ohio Redistricting Commission – comprised of statewide elected officials and partisan legislators – is seemingly unwilling to put aside partisan concerns as directed by the people’s vote, Ohioans may opt to pursue further constitutional amendment to replace the current commission with a truly independent, nonpartisan commission that more effectively distances the redistricting process from partisan politics.’