Emily Bacha, Vice President of Public Affairs, May 5, 2022
Columbus, OH — Today, nine Ohio advocacy organizations filed an amicus brief at the Ohio Supreme Court in the two consolidated congressional redistricting lawsuits. Collectively, the organizations allege that the congressional map passed on March 2, 2022 was gerrymandered by the Ohio Redistricting Commission. The map’s districts also divide communities of interest across the state in pursuit of partisan goals.
The Ohio Environmental Council (OEC) drafted the brief, and is joined by Innovation Ohio, LEAD Ohio, Ohio Citizen Action, Ohio Farmers Union, the Ohio Organizing Collaborative, the Ohio Unity Coalition, OPAWL – Building AAPI Feminist Leadership, and Red, Wine & Blue. The organizations co-signing this brief represent people from all across Ohio and many different walks of life. While the organizations separately focus on many different issues, communities, and constituencies, they are united in understanding the foundational nature of fair maps.
The brief supports the arguments of the petitioners, Neiman et. al. and League of Women Voters of Ohio et. al. It can be viewed in its entirety here.
Organizations submitted the following quotes about the need for fair maps:
Chris Tavenor, Ohio Environmental Council (OEC) Staff Attorney:
“At the OEC, we know that in order to ensure a healthy environment, we need a fair and functioning democracy. We are proud to represent this coalition of advocates from across Ohio. Together, our collective voice emphasizes the important need for fair maps for every person who calls this state home.”
Desiree Tims, President & CEO of Innovation Ohio:
“We’ve been fighting for fair districts for months. The continued obstruction to our constitutional rights undermines our democracy. Without a fair congressional map, Ohioans will not have the representation in Washington D.C. that they deserve.”
Rachael Belz, CEO of Ohio Citizen Action:
“Equitable representation isn’t simply what all Ohioans deserve, it’s what we voted for in the redistricting reform measures. We demand a fairly functioning democracy—nothing less will do.”
Joe Logan, President of the Ohio Farmers Union:
“Social and economic justice are crucial elements for healthy rural communities. Fair representation in a healthy democratic system can assure these goals are sustained. Gerrymandering corrupts the democratic system and degrades the needed sense of fairness. Our democracy NEEDS fair legislative districts to sustain healthy communities.”
Molly Shack, Co-Executive Director of the Ohio Organizing Collaborative (OOC):
“Over the last 10 years the OOC has talked to hundreds of thousands of Ohioans about their hopes and dreams, their fears and what keeps them up at night. Each and every one deserves to have their voices heard and their values represented fairly. This map silences marginalized Ohioans by unfairly cracking apart minority communities and diluting their voting power.”
Pierrette “Petee” Talley, Convener of Ohio Unity Coalition:
“Black Ohioans have long felt that gerrymandered districts protect unearned Republican majorities, while diminishing minority voting power that would provide opportunities to prioritize issues that impact our communities. All Ohioans deserve to live in a state where their issues and concerns stand a chance of being addressed.”
Jona Hilario, Co-Director of OPAWL- Building AAPI Feminist Leadership:
“In these last ten years, the demographics of Ohio have experienced a tremendous change. In Columbus alone, the number of AAPI residents increased by over 75 percent. In a rapidly changing Ohio, we need and deserve fair representation so that our communities can not just survive but also thrive. As our numbers grow, our political concerns grow with us, and we are eager to contribute to the political landscape of Ohio. We need fair maps that appropriately represent minority populations so our presence is not neglected and our voices are not drowned out in disproportionality.”
Katie Paris, Founder of Red Wine & Blue:
“When Ohioans have fair districts, we create the opportunity for more suburban women to engage in the democratic process. Not only that, but we ensure that those who are ultimately chosen to do the job are beholden to the people that put them there.”
The Ohio Environmental Council (OEC) is the state’s most comprehensive and effective environmental advocate for a healthier, more sustainable Ohio. The OEC develops and ensures the implementation of forward-thinking, science-based, pragmatic solutions to secure healthy air, land, and water for all who call Ohio home.
Media Inquiries: ebacha<at>theoec.org