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A federal court ruled Friday that Ohio's congressional map is unconstitutional and ordered a new one be drawn for the 2020 elections.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court in Cincinnati ruled unanimously that district boundaries were manipulated for partisan gain by Republican mapmakers and violates voters' rights to democratically select their representatives. The ruling blocks Ohio from holding another election under the current map.
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The ruling is likely to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, but the judges ordered that the state propose a new map by June 20.
Voters' rights and Democratic groups who sued Ohio Republican officials said redistricting completed after the 2010 Census yielded a statewide map that has produced an unbending 12-4 Republican advantage in Ohio's delegation.
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Republicans said the map was drawn with bipartisan support. They also pointed out that a new map will be drawn anyway after the 2020 Census.
Plaintiffs said Ohioans shouldn't have to wait for a fair map.
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The U.S. Supreme Court is already considering challenges to congressional maps in North Carolina, drawn by Republicans, and Maryland, drawn by Democrats.
In a case similar to Ohio's, a three-judge panel ruled this month that Michigan's congressional and legislative maps are unconstitutionally gerrymandered, and ordered the state Legislature to redraw some districts for 2020.
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The judges wrote that GOP mapmakers in 2011 drew maps with the goal of ensuring 'durable majorities' for Republicans. An appeal is likely.
American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio Legal Director Freda Levenson had said the 10-year map was being challenged because the legal landscape has changed and because the map's results in terms of partisan representation are easily shown.
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The suit called Ohio's current map 'one of the most egregious gerrymanders in recent history,' and that it reliably has done its job of creating a 12-to-4 advantage for Republicans in the state's congressional...
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