Stephen Wolf+ Your Authors @PoliticsWolf @DKElections staff writer covering voting rights, gerrymandering, maps, & poli sci. Get the free Voting Rights Roundup weekly newsletter May. 03, 2019 3 min read + Your Authors

HUGE news: A federal court just struck down Ohio's extreme Republican congressional gerrymander (thread to follow)

Ohio has one of the most extreme congressional gerrymanders of any state in the country. Even though Democrats flipped the House in 2018, they won just 4 of 16 Ohio House seats. By contrast, this nonpartisan map could have seen them win 3-4 more seats: 

Here's a link to the ruling striking down Ohio's GOP congressional gerrymander

If this ruling is upheld, Ohio could have a much fairer congressional map for 2020 redistricting that finally lets Democrats win an equitable share of seats in this light-red swing state. That would also matter for 2020s redistricting, as you'll see in the next tweet ...

Ohio legislators passed a bipartisan congressional redistricting reform in 2018, but as @RichExner & others have illustrated, Republicans could still easily manipulate those rules to pass another ruthless gerrymander after 2020 if left unchecked 

Today's ruling striking down Ohio's GOP congressional gerrymander & requiring a fairer map for 2020 would set a new baseline for post-2020s redistricting that would make it harder for the GOP to get away with another extreme map under the 2018 reform compared to the status quo

Unfortunately, there's a strong risk that the partisan Republican majority on the U.S. Supreme Court will overturn this ruling because it threatens the GOP's ability to regain the House in 2020 & would set a precedent that could be used everywhere. But that isn't the end of it

Even if SCOTUS overturns today's ruling striking down Ohio's GOP congressional map, there's still a way that judges can force fairer districts for 2020. That's because Ohio is one of several states with key 2020 state Supreme Court elections. Dems could flip Ohio's court in 2020!

If Democrats flip the two Republican-held seats on Ohio's Supreme Court in 2020, they could ensure that the 2018 redistricting reform is actually implemented as promised & not subverted by Republicans. That could pave the way for a much fairer congressional map next decade

Here's how a nonpartisan Ohio congressional map could look. Instead of winning just 4 of 16 seats, Obama would have carried 8 districts & Clinton 6. Dems would have had a great chance to win 7-8 seats in 2018. This map splits just 1 city & 13 counties 

Across the country, courts at both the state & federal level are converging on a much-sought-after standard to adjudicate partisan gerrymandering lawsuits. The Supreme Court has refused to adopt one for years, but that isn't holding back lower courts

NEW post: Federal court strikes down Ohio's congressional gerrymander, finding the GOP made it "so skewed" they "predetermined" election results. We analyzed how a nonpartisan map could look & what the consequences of this ruling may be 

It's absurd that courts have long found gerrymandering to avoid pairing two incumbents in a single district is a legitimate interest of the state, but that's not what they found Ohio Republicans did here. Court determined the GOP insulated incumbents from ANY future challenge

If today's ruling is upheld & a nonpartisan map like this one is implemented for 2020, I'd expect Dems to gain 2-4 seats. Dems would almost certainly flip a seat in Cincinnati, likely another each in Columbus & Akron, & maybe one near Lorain. But Dems could lose Tim Ryan's seat

You can follow @PoliticsWolf.


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