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GOP’s Ohio legislative maps hit with 2nd lawsuit in 2 days

COLUMBUS (AP) — Ohio’s newly drawn legislative district maps were hit Friday with the second lawsuit in two days that alleges Republican gerrymandering that violated the state constitution.

The lawsuit, filed in the Ohio Supreme Court by the National Democratic Redistricting Committee’s legal arm on behalf of a group of Ohio voters, challenges maps of Ohio House and Ohio Senate districts passed last week along party lines by the GOP-dominated Ohio Redistricting Commission.

It is the group’s first lawsuit nationally of the redistricting cycle tied to the 2020 census, attorney Marc Elias told reporters in a briefing. Elias said Friday’s litigation is complementary to a suit filed Thursday by the ACLU on behalf of the League of Women Voters, A. Philip Randolph Institute and individuals, raising some similar and some different constitutional violations.

The complaint goes further in challenging additional aspects of the map-drawing process, including draft maps being drawn behind closed doors, public hearings being held when maps weren’t yet available to react to, and a deadline being missed.

NDRC Chairman Eric Holder, attorney general under former President Barack Obama, said the maps — estimated to produce 67% of the House districts and 69% of Senate districts to favor Republicans — aim to deliver unearned power to Republicans. The state’s partisan leanings are roughly 54% Republican, 46% Democratic.

“They have not earned that level of representation of Ohio voters,” Holder said. “In fact, over the past decade, even with maps that were painfully gerrymandered and aiding them, Ohio Republicans earned just over 54% of the vote statewide for state legislative offices.”

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