Ohio statehouse Democrats want the state’s Supreme Court to reject new legislative district maps, claiming Republicans violated the Ohio Constitution when drawing them up. Republicans say the complaint is ridiculous, reports the Cleveland Plain Dealer
The map, which strongly favors Republican candidates, redrew 99 Ohio House districts and 33 Senate districts. The lawsuit claims the map violates state law that says legislative districts must be compact and not split up counties, townships, cities, and villages. However, the new map divides 51 counties, 108 townships, 55 cities, and 41 wards.
“You can draw a map with far, far fewer divisions of districts, but when you do that you aren’t going to get maximum political advantage,” said House Minority Leader Armond Budish, the lone Democrat on the five-member Apportionment Board, who voted against the map. “The bottom line is that this has to be a map that complies with the state’s constitution, and this one doesn’t do it."
The Republican members of the board are Gov. John Kasich, State Auditor David Yost, Secretary of State Jon Husted, and Senate President Tom Niehaus.
Mike Dittoe, spokesman for Republican House Speaker William G. Batchelder, called the Democratic charges part of a “series of unbelievably disappointing attempts by House and Senate Democrats to throw the 2012 elections into legal chaos.”
The lawsuit also claims the board held secret meetings in a Columbus hotel room, a violation of Ohio’s open-meetings law. Dittoe, though, said office space was approved by both Batchelder and Senate Minority Leader Capri Cafaro, a Democrat.
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