Fast-tracked congressional map poised to clear Ohio House

November 17, 2021 GMT

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A fast-tracked map of Ohio’s new congressional districts continued its breakneck pace through the Republican-controlled state Legislature on Wednesday.

An Ohio House committee approved the proposal along party lines Wednesday, with a floor vote anticipated Thursday. The 15-district map cleared the Senate Tuesday, only about 16 hours after it was unveiled.

Republican sponsor Sen. Rob McColley said it is the most competitive of all maps considered, doesn’t unduly favor either party and is constitutional.

Lacking Democratic support, the plan would last only four of the 10 years until the next census, whose results trigger the once-per-decade map-drawing process.

Democrats, voting-rights groups and scholars said the map is gerrymandered to favor the GOP. It divides populous Cuyahoga and Hamilton counties — the respective homes to Cleveland and Cincinnati and their concentrations of Democratic voters — three ways each. Franklin County, home to Columbus, is divided two ways. The map also draws the western Cleveland suburbs in Lorain County into a district that stretches to the Indiana border, a nearly 3-hour drive.

Due to lagging population, Ohio will lose one seat in Congress starting next year — taking it from 16 to 15.