COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Congressional district maps previously deemed unconstitutional by the Ohio Supreme Court will be used in 2024 after the high court dismissed legal challenges against the Republican-drawn districts on Thursday.
The Ohio voting-rights groups that brought forward the challenges moved to dismiss their own lawsuits against the Republican-drawn maps earlier this week, saying the turmoil isn’t in the best interest of Ohio voters. The maps were found to be unconstitutional by the court several times for unfairly favoring Ohio’s GOP.
The state’s highest court, which holds a 4-3 Republican majority, dismissed the cases without comment.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, on behalf of the League of Women Voters of Ohio and others, told the Ohio Supreme Court Tuesday that they are willing to live with the U.S. House map approved March 2, 2022, which was used in last year’s elections.
The legal dispute has been going on for two years, with the court rejecting two separate congressional maps and five sets of Statehouse maps — describing districts for the Ohio House and Senate in Columbus as gerrymandered in favor of Republicans.
Despite the maps being deemed unconstitutional before the 2022 elections, they continue to be used due to Republicans essentially letting the clock run out after refusing the court’s order to write up new, fairer maps by the prescribed deadline.
Ohio’s political landscape has only grown more conservative in the last few cycles. Both the state House and Senate currently have GOP supermajorities. The state Supreme Court’s Republican chief justice, who had provided a swing vote against GOP-leaning maps, retired.
Samantha Hendrickson is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.