Ohio has a multi-stage process for the creation of its Congressional map.
If 60% of the General Assembly votes in favor of a redistricting plan (including 50% of all Republican members and 50% of all Democrat members) and the map is signed by the Governor, it will be in effect for the entire decade.
If a redistricting plan cannot reach that threshold of support then the Ohio Redistricting Commission (made up of the Governor, Auditor, Secretary of State, a member chosen by the Speaker of the House, a member chosen by the Senate President, a member chosen by the House Minority Leader, and a member chosen by the Senate Minority Leader) has an opportunity to enact a plan for a decade if it can agree to a map with the support of at least two members of each major political party no later than the last day of October of that year.
If the Commission fails to reach the required level of bipartisan consensus the General Assembly receives another opportunity to enact a plan for the decade. The General Assembly must adopt this plan by the last day of November of that year. During this second attempt a plan needs only to be supported by one-third of the members of each major political party and be signed by the Governor.
If a redistricting plan cannot reach that threshold of support then the General Assembly may enact a plan for four years with a majority vote and the Governor’s signature. If the General Assembly enacts a map this way the plan must not unduly favor or disfavor a political party and should maintain whole governmental units, with the order of preference being counties, townships, and municipal corporations. Upon the four year expiration date of a plan, the map drawing process starts again in the same order as described above.
A Legislative Task Force aids the Ohio General Assembly in its task of drawing congressional districts. The Legislative Task Force is made up of three persons appointed by the President of the Ohio Senate, and three appointed by the Speaker of the Ohio House.
The Ohio Redistricting Commission is responsible for drawing the state’s legislative lines. The seven-member commission is made up of the Governor, Auditor, Secretary of State, a member chosen by the Speaker of the House, a member chosen by the Senate President, a member chosen by the House Minority Leader, and a member chosen by the Senate Minority Leader.
At least two members of each party must vote for a plan for it to be enacted for ten years. If the Commission is unable to reach that level of bipartisan support, the Commission may only enact a redistricting plan for four years.
The Commission must publicly release their proposed plan and hold at least three public hearings across the state to present the plan and seek public input. All Commission meetings are open to the public and must be broadcasted electronically such that it is available to the general public.
A Legislative Task Force aids the Ohio Redistricting Commission in establishing legislative districts using the new census information. The Legislative Task Force is made up of three persons appointed by the President of the Ohio Senate, and three appointed by the Speaker of the Ohio House.
Source: Ohio Const. art. XI, art. XIX. Ohio Rev. Code §103.51.
Previous Redistricting Cycles
- Original Plan – HB 319
- Passed = September 21, 2011 (R-controlled)
- Signed = September 26, 2011
- Amended Plan – HB 369
- Passed = December 14, 2011 (R-controlled)
- Signed = December 15, 2011
- Litigation History
- Ohio A. Philip Randolph Inst. v. Householder, 373 F.Supp.3d 978 (S.D. Ohio 2019): Plaintiffs challenged the General Assembly’s amended congressional plan (HB 369) as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s 1st and 14th Amendments and Elections Clause. On May 3, 2019, the district court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, finding that several of the districts were drawn with the intent to burden the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights, that the plan as a whole violated their associational rights without legitimate justification, and that it exceeded the state’s redistricting authority under the Elections Clause.
- Vacated & Remanded, 140 S.Ct. 101 (2019): U.S. Supreme Court vacated and remanded the district court’s ruling for further consideration in light of Rucho v. Common Cause’s ruling that partisan gerrymandering claims are nonjusticiable political questions beyond the reach of federal courts.
- Commission’s Plans
- Adopted = September 28, 2011
- Litigation History
- Wilson v. Kasich, 134 Ohio St. 3d 221 (Ohio 2012): Plaintiffs challenged the Ohio Apportionment Board’s adopted legislative plans as unconstitutional on the grounds that when adopting the plans, the Board impermissibly considered partisan intent and violated the state constitution’s redistricting procedures, and other state laws related to government transparency. On November 27, 2012, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled in favor of the defendants and upheld the plans, finding that the plaintiffs failed to overcome the presumption of constitutionality afforded to the Board’s adopted plans.
- Original Plan – HB 471
- Passed = January 23, 2002 (R-controlled)
- Signed = January 24, 2002
- Litigation History
- Commission’s Plan
- Adopted = October 1, 2002
- Litigation History
- Parker v. Ohio, 263 F.Supp.2d 1100 (S.D. Ohio 2003): Plaintiffs challenged the Ohio Apportionment Board’s adopted legislative plans on the grounds it violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and the 14th and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. On May 23, 2003, the district court ruled in favor of the defendants, finding that plaintiffs failed to show that race was the predominant factor when creating the plan and failed to establish the necessary preconditions for a violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.
- Aff’d, 540 U.S. 1013 (2003).
Governor Bill Signing
If a bill is presented to the governor during or after session, the governor has 10 days to sign or veto it; otherwise, it becomes law without signature. Sundays are excluded in these calculations. Line-item vetoes are permitted.
Ballot Measure Process
Kinds of Ballot Measures
Direct and indirect initiatives and referendums are permitted to amend statutes. Direct initiatives are permitted to amend the state Constitution. Legislatively initiated ballot measures may amend both statutes and the Constitution.
There is a single-subject rule.
Initiative Subject Restrictions
Initiatives cannot contain measures involving property taxes, non-legislative issues, or the establishment of monopolies.
1000 preliminary signatures are required for all petitions.
The signature requirement for constitutional amendments is 10% of all votes cast for all candidates for governor in the previous gubernatorial election, 3% for all other initiatives (this will send the initiative to the State Legislature, and should the Legislature not enact the proposal, another 3% may be collected to send the initiative to the people), and 6% for a veto referendum. 4,429,582 people voted for a candidate for governor in the 2018 General Election in Ohio, so 442,958 signatures are required for constitutional amendments, 132,887 signatures are required for any other initiative, and 265,774 signatures are required for a veto referendum. Signatures must be obtained from at least 44 of Ohio's 88 counties. For constitutional amendments, from each of the 44 counties, signatures must equal at least 5% of votes cast for governor in that county in previous election. This number is 1.5% for initiated statutes (for first and second collections) and 3% for referendums.
Constitutional amendments must be submitted 125 days before the election in which it is to be on the ballot (July 6, 2022). Statutory initiatives must be submitted no less than ten days prior to convening the Legislature (December 21, 2021). Should the Legislature not enact the measure within four months, supplemental signatures must be submitted within 90 days of the Legislature’s failure to enact or otherwise act upon the initiative. The petition must also be filed no less than 125 days before the election at which the initiative is to be placed on the ballot. Referendums must be submitted within 90 days after the end of the targeted law is passed. If a referendum petition is filed when there is less than 125 days before the next election, the referendum vote will be placed on the ballot at the next regular or general election that occurs over a year later. For all petitions, if signatures are deemed insufficient or invalid, petitioners are permitted an additional 10 days to collect and file additional signatures.
There is no limit to the circulation period.
Ballot Title and Summary
The Ballot Title and Summary are written by the proponent, subject to approval by the Secretary of State. Expedited reviews for Titles and Summaries are not permitted.
A fiscal impact statement is required. Circulators are required to be at least 18 years old and have a permanent residence in the state. There are no supermajority requirements. The General Assembly can amend or repeal an approved statute through a majority vote. Constitutional amendments can be altered by the General Assembly through a three-fifths vote in both chambers as well as a majority vote of the people. Initiatives are permitted on general and off-year election ballots, but not on primary and special election ballots.
Source: Ohio Const. art. II; XVI. Ohio Rev. Code §§ 35.3501, 35.3519. Ohio Attorney General Website
In The News
- GOP Leaders Dispute Timeline for New Congressional Map as Groups Say Lawmakers Missed Deadline, Statehouse News Bureau (8/18/22)
- Ohio House Speaker Calls Redistricting Deadline a ‘Myth’, Ohio Capital Journal (8/18/22)
- Top Ohio Senate Republican Wants to Appeal Congressional Map to U.S. Supreme Court, Cincinnati.com (8/17/22)
- Another Redistricting Deadline Coming Up, no Action Expected from Ohio Legislature, Ohio Capital Journal (8/9/22)
- Ohio Supreme Court Again Rejects Republican Congressional Map, Ordering Redraw for 2024 Election, Cleveland.com (7/19/22)
- Ohio Supreme Court Declines to Hold Ohio Redistricting Commission in Contempt for Failure to Pass Constitutional Legislative Districts, Cleveland.com (6/29/22)
- Ohio Supreme Court Dismisses One Redistricting-Related Lawsuit, Others Still Pending, Statehouse News Bureau (6/10/22)
- Only One Appeal Filed in Federal Redistricting Case, Ohio Capital Journal (6/9/22)
- Ohio Redistricting Commission Co-Chair Declines to Adopt Legislative Maps, Ohio Capital Journal (6/3/22)
- Judges Impose Voided Statehouse Map, Set Aug. 2 Primary, AP (5/27/22)
- Ohio’s High Court Rejects Latest GOP-Drawn Statehouse Maps, AP (5/25/22)
- Ohio Redistricting Commission Resubmits Third Set of Legislative Maps to Ohio Supreme Court, Spectrum News 1 (5/5/22)
- Senate President Appoints Own Replacement to Ohio Redistricting Commission, Ohio Capital Journal (5/4/22)
- Federal Court Imposes May 28 Deadline on Ohio Redistricting Commission, The Center Square (4/21/22)
- Ohio Supreme Court Rejects Republicans’ Fourth Set of State Legislative Maps, Cleveland.com (4/14/22)
- Federal Judges’ Rejection of Racial Gerrymandering Question Means May 3 Congressional Primary Will Happen as Planned, Cleveland.com (4/13/22)
- Ohio to Hold Two Primaries; Early Voting Underway, WSAZ (4/5/22)
- Challenge Filed to Fourth Set of Ohio House, Senate Maps Approved Monday, Statehouse News Bureau (4/3/22)
- Federal Court Gives Ohio More Time to Resolve Redistricting Mess, Considers Aug. 2 Primary for Legislative Races, Cleveland.com (3/30/22)
- GOP OKs Ohio Legislature Maps Tweaked from Rejected Ones, Democrats Say Process 'Hijacked', The Columbus Dispatch (3/28/22)
- Ohio Redistricting: Mapmakers Unveil Latest State House, Senate Plan, The Columbus Dispatch (3/27/22)
- Redistricting Commission Sets New Rules for Fourth Try at Ohio House, Senate Maps, Statehouse News Bureau (3/23/22)
- Ohio Redistricting Commission Hires Outside Mapmakers to Redraw State Legislative Maps, Cleveland.com (3/22/22)
- National Democrats Refile Challenge to Ohio Congressional Map Plan After Technical Court Dismissal, Cleveland.com (3/21/22)
- Supreme Court Rejects Congressional Map Challenge, Says it Doesn’t Have Jurisdiction, Ohio Capital Journal (3/21/22)
- Ohio Redistricting Commission Bringing in Independent Mapmakers After 3rd Court Ruling, Hometown Stations (3/20/22)
- Federal Judges Will Review a Challenge to Ohio's Redistricting Process, Statehouse News Bureau (3/18/22)
- Ohio Supreme Court Rejects Republicans’ Third Set of State Legislative Maps, Cleveland.com (3/17/22)
- Federal Judge Says he’s Staying Out of Ohio’s Redistricting Fight, for Now, Cleveland.com (3/14/22)
- GOP Redistricting Attorneys Ask Court to Make Decision on Congressional Map After 2022 Election, Ohio Capital Journal (3/11/22)
- Ohio Mapmakers OK 2nd Congressional Map Over Dem Objections, AP (3/2/22)
- Ohio Republicans Introduce Latest Congressional Map Proposal, Cleveland.com (3/1/22)
- Groups File Objections to New Ohio House, Senate Maps as Contempt Hearing is Delayed, Statehouse News Bureau (2/28/22)
- Ohio Supreme Court Orders Ohio Redistricting Commission to Appear for Contempt of Court Hearing, The Columbus Dispatch (2/24/22)
- Ohio Redistricting Commission Approves 3rd Set of 4-Year Legislative Maps, The Columbus Dispatch (2/24/22)
- Ohio Redistricting Commission Misses Deadline for New Maps, Court Asks for the Committee to Respond, WCPO (2/23/22)
- Work on Redrawing State Legislative Maps Resumes After Ohio Supreme Court’s Contempt of Court Threat, Cleveland.com (2/22/22)
- Ohio Supreme Court Gives Redistricting Commission Deadline to Show Cause, The Center Square (2/21/22)
- GOP Voters Sue Ohio Redistricting Panel to Force Adoption of Legislative Maps, Courthouse News Service (2/18/22)
- Ohio Redistricting Process Falters as Panel Hits ‘Impasse’, AP (2/18/22)
- House Speaker Calls for Redistricting Meeting but it's Unclear what Happens Next, Statehouse News Bureau (2/15/22)
- Lawmakers Can't Get Votes for Congressional Map, Punting to Ohio Redistricting Commission, The Columbus Dispatch (2/8/22)
- Ohio Supreme Court Again Rejects Legislative Maps, Sends Redistricting Commission Back to Drawing Board, The Columbus Dispatch (2/7/22)
- Ohio Redistricting Commission Passes New 4-Year Maps for Legislative Districts, Supreme Court to Review, The Columbus Dispatch (1/22/22)
- Ohio Redistricting Commission Releases Draft Maps for Franklin, Hamilton County Districts, The Columbus Dispatch (1/20/22)
- Redistricting Redux: Ohio Commission Will Take Second Stab at State Legislative, Congressional Maps: Capitol Letter, Cleveland.com (1/18/22)
- Ohio Supreme Court Rejects GOP-Drawn Congressional Map, AP (1/14/22)
- Ohio Justices Toss GOP Statehouse Maps, Order Fix in 10 Days, AP (1/12/22)
- Congressional Redistricting Hits the Ohio Supreme Court, Ohio Capital Journal (12/29/21)
- Voter Rights Groups Sue Over Ohio GOP’s Congressional Map, AP (12/2/21)
- Congressional Redistricting Map Sees First Lawsuit, Others Possible, Ohio Capital Journal (11/24/21)
- Ohio Governor Signs New Congressional District Map into Law, AP (11/20/21)
- House OKs GOP Map for Congressional Districts, Sends the Bill to Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, The Columbus Dispatch (11/18/21)
- Democrats won't Support Republican-Drawn Ohio Congressional Districts, Limiting Map to Four Years, The Columbus Dispatch (11/16/21)
- Ohio Republicans Unveil New Congressional Map. See it Here, The Columbus Dispatch (11/15/21)
- Joint Committee on Congressional Redistricting Announced, Spectrum News 1 (11/8/21)
- Debate Kicks Off in Ohio Over New Congressional Maps, AP (11/3/21)
- 'A Missed Opportunity': Ohio Redistricting Commission Punts Congressional Mapmaking to Legislature, The Columbus Dispatch (10/28/21)
- Ohio Redistricting Commission only Approves 4-Year Maps, Spectrum News 1 (9/16/21)
- Ohio Lawmakers Likely to Miss First Congressional Redistricting Deadline, Cincinnati Enquirer (9/15/21)
- Democrats on Ohio Redistricting Commission Introduce Changes to Maps Proposed by Republicans, Cleveland.com (9/13/21)
- Republicans Release Ohio Statehouse district Maps. See them Here, The Columbus Dispatch (9/9/21)
- Ohio Redistricting Commission Still has no Plan to Approve New Legislative Districts by Constitutional Deadline, Cleveland.com (9/7/21)
- Ohio Redistricting Commission Misses Constitutional Deadline, The Statehouse News Bureau (9/1/21)
- Ohio Redistricting Panel to Miss Sept. 1 Redrawing Deadline, AP (8/31/21)
- Ohio Redistricting Commission to Meet Tuesday Ahead of Deadline for Map Unveiling, cleveland.com (8/30/21)
- Ohio Redistricting Commission Launches Public Input Website, The Highland County Press (8/22/21)
- Census Data Coming Soon, Feds Reiterate to Ohio Officials Eying Redistricting Deadlines, Cleveland.com (7/26/21)
- Redistricting Fights in Ohio Begin, this Time with an Open Records Request, Ohio Capital Journal (7/19/21)
- Lawsuit Filed Over Lack of Accountability In Redistricting Process, Statehouse News Bureau (7/9/21)
- New Community Group Forms to Comment on Ohio Redistricting Process, WCPN (6/12/21)
- Dem Opposition Nixes GOP Fix for Ohio Redistricting Glitch, AP (5/4/21)
- Slow Population Growth Costs Ohio a House Seat, Census Shows, AP (4/26/21)
- Ohio Lawmaker: Mapping Work could Begin Despite Census Delay, AP (2/12/21)
- Ohio's Redistricting Reforms to Avoid Gerrymandering Take Shape in 2021, Statehouse News Bureau (1/8/21)
- Lt. Gov. Jon Justed Pushes for Ohioans to Complete their Census Forms, Cleveland.com (9/10/20)
- Republicans Challenge Discovery Order in Ohio Gerrymandering Case, Courthouse News Service (1/29/20)