On December 1, 2021, two Black registered voters in Ohio filed a federal lawsuit against Ohio's Redistricting Commission, its members, and Ohio's Attorney General, challenging the state's congressional and state Senate redistricting plans, along with the at-large method of elections in Mahoning County, as violating the U.S. Constitution and the federal Voting Rights Act. First, plaintiffs allege that the state's enacted congressional and adopted state Senate redistricting plans violate Section 2 of the federal Voting Rights Act because they crack and pack the Black populations in Warren and Youngstown, thereby resulting in the dilution of Black residents' voting strength. They also allege that the use of at-large elections in Mahoning County also violates Section 2 because the at-large procedures result in the denial of Black voters in the County full and equal access to the political process. Second, plaintiffs allege that the General Assembly's congressional plan was enacted, and the Ohio Redistricting Commission's state Senate plan was adopted, with an intent to discriminate against Black voters in violation of the 14th Amendment and 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Similarly, plaintiffs also assert that the at-large method of elections in Mahoning County also constitutes intentional racial discrimination in violation of the 14th and 15th Amendments. Finally, plaintiffs allege that the two redistricting plans and the at-large election method also impose significant burdens on the plaintiffs' and other Black residents' right to vote in violation of the 1st and 14th Amendments. They are seeking a judicial declaration that the congressional and state Senate redistricting plans, and the at-large elections method for Mahoning County, violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, a preliminary and permanent injunction barring the defendants from utilizing the plans or the at-large method in future elections, and a court order requiring the defendants to implement a new election method for Mahoning County that complies with Section 2. They have also requested that the court reduce the number of Ohio's congressional seats to reflect the "defendants' deliberate dilution of Black voting power."

On January 12, 2022, the district court granted the defendants' motion to stay the case for 60 days pending the Ohio Supreme Court's resolution of the partisan gerrymandering challenges to the enacted congressional and legislative plan challenges pending before it. On March 22, the plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the action without prejudice, which the court granted the following day, thereby ending the case.

Similar Cases: League of Women Voters of Ohio v. Ohio Redistricting Comm'n; Bennett v. Ohio Redistricting Comm'n; Ohio Organizing Collaborative v. Ohio Redistricting Comm'n; League of Women Voters of Ohio v. DeWine; Adams v. DeWine


U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio - No. 4:21-cv-2267