In Unanimous Decision, Court Says Republicans Can't Stop People's Voice
COLUMBUS - Today, Ohioans for Fair Districts, the committee challenging the Republican-drawn unfair Congressional maps, praised the Ohio Supreme Court's 7-0 decision that House Bill 319 is subject to a potential referendum by the people of Ohio.
"We applaud this unanimous ruling that makes clear that the people of Ohio can exercise their right to stop these unfair Congressional maps," said State Representative Kathleen Clyde of Kent, a member of the committee. "Statehouse Republicans now have a choice: They can come back to the drawing board and produce fair maps with bipartisan support, or they can create widespread uncertainty in our next election. We are prepared to take whatever steps are necessary to make sure that the people's voice is heard."
"Statehouse Republicans now have a choice: They can come back to the drawing board and produce fair maps with bipartisan support, or they can create widespread uncertainty in our next election," she said.
The map, which Republican Gov. John Kasich signed into law last month, has been widely derided by Democrats and voter groups who say the GOP gerrymandered the lines to protect their control of Ohio's congressional delegation.
On Monday, Ohioans for Fair Districts will request that the Ohio Supreme Court restart the 90-day window for collecting signatures to repeal House Bill 319. Under Ohio law, 90 days are given after a bill is signed into law by the governor to collect signatures to place a repeal of the law on the ballot.
Members of the Ohioans for Fair Districts committee include Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern, State Senator Nina Turner of Cleveland, State Representative Kathleen Clyde of Kent, State Representative Matt Lundy of Elyria and former Dayton Mayor Rhine McLin.
Volunteers from the Ohio Democratic Party, ProgressOhio, and allies collected more than 1,000 valid signatures earlier this week and submitted the signatures with proposed petition language to the Secretary of State and Attorney General. Secretary of State Jon Husted and Attorney General Mike DeWine rejected the filing of those petitions on grounds that were dismissed by the Supreme Court today.
"Ohioans are bolstered by the court's decision", said Brian Rothenberg, executive director of ProgressOhio.
"The lines were drawn grotesquely, and people could tell inherently this was wrong, that this was the wrong way to game the system," he said.