(COLUMBUS, OHIO 1/13/2022) — The Ohio Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Ohio) welcomes yesterday’s ruling in the Ohio Supreme Court striking down gerrymandered state House and Senate district maps, ruling 4-3 that the maps are unconstitutional. The ruling affirms the maps do not meet the anti-gerrymandering rules passed by voters in 2015 and requires maps to be redrawn to meet constitutional provisions.
The maps diluted the political power of Ohio Muslims and other minority communities with gerrymandered district lines across Ohio, including splitting and packing communities in and around Cleveland, Toledo, Columbus, Cincinnati, Dayton, and others.
The court ordered the Republican-dominated Ohio Redistricting Commission to fix violations and adopt a new plan reflecting a 54 percent Republican – 46 percent Democratic partisan split within 10 days. The court retains authority to review the new plan.
One of the suits challenging the unconstitutional and discriminatory state legislative maps was filed by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law and the law firm Reed Smith on behalf of CAIR-Ohio and other plaintiffs in September.
CAIR-Ohio has worked in coalition with multiple constituent groups across the state to fight for fair district maps and ensure the Muslim vote is not diluted by gerrymandering. View CAIR-Ohio’s Redistricting Campaign and some of its work to safeguard and amplify the Muslim vote at www.cair-ohio.com/redistricting-resources/.
In statements, the CAIR-Ohio team celebrated the win but recognized the work ahead over the next 9 days.
CAIR-Ohio Acting Executive Director Amina Barhumi:
“What a victory for the people of Ohio, for the Muslim community who showed up, testified, submitted maps, and made their voices heard. This ruling sends a clear signal: democracy demands that voters pick their leaders, not the other way around. We the people, must continue to hold our elected officials accountable. When we do that, we still have a fighting chance for equity in this state.”
CAIR-Ohio, Cleveland Chapter Executive Director Julia Shearson:
“We welcome the Ohio Supreme Court’s decision to strike down these unfair, gerrymandered, and racialized maps that were surgically created to benefit one party. Civil rights groups and community advocates see right through the attempts to dilute the voice and the vote of Black, brown, immigrant, and Muslim communities.”
CAIR-Ohio Community Affairs Director Whitney Siddiqi:
“This decision confirms what the community has continuously expressed: that these maps were unfair, unconstitutional, and do not reflect how Ohioans actually vote. We celebrate this step towards equal districts and continuing this fight for fair representation – the Ohio Redistricting Commission now has less than 10 days to right this wrong.”
CAIR-Ohio Outreach Coordinator Victoria Hickcox:
“The redistricting commission can no longer continue to ignore the voices of Ohio voters. We urge the commission to use the overwhelming number of testimonials and maps submitted from across the state in redrawing the maps. We’ve called on the commission and legislators for nearly nine months to follow the redistricting requirements passed by Ohioans in 2015. This week, the Ohio Supreme Court is holding those in power accountable.”
Read more about the lawsuit here.
Read the full opinion here: New Ohio Legislative District Maps Unconstitutional
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.
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