CategoryState

Four states release proposed redistricting maps between Sept. 15 and 22

Four states— Alaska, Arkansas, Texas, and Washington— released proposed redistricting maps between Sept. 15 and 22.

Alaska: The Alaska Redistricting Board adopted six proposed state legislative maps at its Sept. 20 meeting: two prepared by the board and four proposed by third-party organizations. The board originally released its two proposals on Sept. 9 but replaced those proposals with two revised versions at the latest meeting. At the same time, the board approved maps designed by:

  • Coalition of Doyon, Ltd., Tanana Chiefs Conference, Fairbanks Native Association, Sealaska, and Ahtna
  • Alaskans for Fair and Equitable Redistricting (AFFER)
  • Alaskans for Fair Redistricting (AFFR)
  • The Senate Minority Caucus

The Alaska Democratic Party also proposed a map, but it was not adopted by the board. According to Board Chairman John Binkley (R), the board will now begin a public meeting tour around the state to discuss the six proposed maps with attendees before making its final decision.

View the proposals here.

Arkansas: The House and Senate State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committees met jointly for the first time on Sept. 20 to discuss proposed maps for the state’s four congressional districts. Between Sept. 9 and 15, three legislators— Reps. Nelda Speaks (R), Jack Ladyman (R), and David Whitaker (D)— introduced congressional redistricting proposals. 

The Sept. 20 meeting was the first of three for the joint committees and it was set up to consider proposals introduced before Sept. 17. The remaining two meetings were scheduled for Sept. 23, to consider maps proposed by Sept. 21, and Sept. 27, to consider maps proposed by Sept. 24. According to earlier reports, the Arkansas State Legislature will reconvene on Sept. 29 to deliberate.

In Arkansas, the legislature is responsible for congressional redistricting while a separate Board of Apportionment is responsible for state legislative redistricting. That board consists of the governor, attorney general, and secretary of state.

View the proposals here.

Texas: The Senate Redistricting Committee released a draft of a Senate legislative map on Sept. 18, making it the first proposed map released during the state’s 2020 redistricting cycle.

Members of the Senate Redistricting Committee will hold public hearings on two proposed bills— SB 4 and SB 7— on Sept. 24 and 25. SB 4 deals with state Senate districts and SB 7 deals with State Board of Education districts, which are also redrawn following the census.

View the proposed map here.

Washington: The state’s four voting Redistricting Commissioners each released proposed state legislative maps on Sept. 21. These maps will be the subject of a virtual public meeting on Oct. 5. Members of the public are invited to participate. The deadline for the commission to finalize its state legislative district map is Nov. 15.

In Washington, congressional and state legislative lines are redrawn by a five-person non-politician commission. The majority and minority leaders of the Washington State Senate and House of Representatives each appoint one registered voter. These four appointed commissioners then appoint a fifth, non-voting member, to serve as chair.

View the proposals here.



Two state legislators switch political party affiliation

Two state legislators switched their political party affiliation the week of Sept. 13. New Hampshire state Rep. William Marsh switched from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party, and Minnesota state Rep. John Thompson became an independent after members of the Minnesota House Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) caucus voted to expel him.

William Marsh—who represents Carroll County District 8 in the New Hampshire House—announced on Sept. 14 that he would leave the Republican Party and switch his affiliation to Democrat. Marsh told the Washington Post that he decided to switch because he disagreed with state Republicans’ opposition to mask and vaccination mandates during the COVID-19 pandemic. “It’s not in the interest of the public to allow Covid to spread in New Hampshire as it has in Florida,” he said. “I’m a doctor first, so I stood up for my patients and said, ‘I’m done with this.’ And I left.”

In Minnesota, members of the House DFL caucus voted on Sept. 14 to expel John Thompson, who represents District 67A. House Speaker Melissa Hortman and Majority Leader Ryan Winkle said there were credible allegations of abuse and misconduct against Thompson and that the caucus voted to expel him in the absence of a resignation. In response to his expulsion, Thompson said, “The DFL chose to release me from their caucus, but what they didn’t do is dampen my resolve to continue serving my district and authentically making sure the voices of those that have been marginalized are clearly heard in the halls of power at the State Capitol.”

Marsh was first elected to the New Hampshire House in 2016, running unopposed in the primary and general elections. He most recently defeated Eve Klotz (D), 63% to 37%, to win re-election in 2020. Marsh ran in both elections as a Republican. Thompson won election to the Minnesota House as a Democrat in 2020, defeating John Stromenger (R), 73% to 27%.

Ballotpedia has identified 145 state legislators—39 state senators and 106 state representatives—who have switched parties since 1994. Marsh is the seventh state legislator in New Hampshire we’ve identified who has switched parties and is the only one to switch to Democrat. Of the other six, four became Libertarians and two became Republicans. Thompson is the third Minnesota state legislator we’ve identified who has switched parties; all three switched to independent.

Eleven state legislators have switched parties so far in 2021. Seven state legislators switched parties in 2020, and 12 switched in 2019. Nationwide, 74 state lawmakers switched from Democrat to Republican, and 20 switched from Republican to Democrat since 1994. The others switched to or from being independent or other parties.

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The voter registration deadline for Texas statewide election is Oct. 4

The voter registration deadline for the November 2, 2021 election in Texas is Oct. 4. Prospective voters can request a postage-paid voter registration form online or complete the form online and return it to the county voter registrar. Applications are also available at a variety of locations including the county voter registrar’s office, the secretary of state’s office, libraries, and high schools.

The ballot will feature eight statewide constitutional amendments. The ballot titles and proposed changes are listed below:

  1. Proposition 1: Authorizes professional sports team charitable foundations to conduct raffles at rodeo venues and includes professional association-sanctioned rodeos in the definition of a professional sports team
  2. Proposition 2: Authorizes a county to issue bonds to fund infrastructure and transportation projects in undeveloped and blighted areas
  3. Proposition 3: Prohibits the state or any political subdivision from enacting a law, rule, order, or proclamation that limits religious services or organizations
  4. Proposition 4: Changes the eligibility requirements for a justice of the supreme court, a judge of the court of criminal appeals, a justice of a court of appeals, and a district judge
  5. Proposition 5: Authorizes the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct to accept and investigate complaints and reports against candidates running for state judicial office
  6. Proposition 6: States that residents of nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, or state-supported living centers have a right to designate an essential caregiver that may not be prohibited from visiting the resident
  7. Proposition 7: Allows the legislature to extend a homestead tax limit for surviving spouses of disabled individuals as long as the spouse is 55 years old and resides at the home
  8. Proposition 8: Allows the legislature to apply a homestead tax exemption for surviving spouses of members of the military to those fatally injured in the line of duty

The Texas State Legislature can refer constitutional amendments to the ballot in odd-numbered years and even-numbered years. However, as the legislature convenes regular sessions in odd-numbered years but not even-numbered years, most amendments have been referred to ballot in odd-numbered years.

Texas is one of 16 states that require a two-thirds vote in each legislative chamber during one legislative session to refer a constitutional amendment to the ballot. That amounts to a minimum of 100 votes in the Texas House of Representatives and 21 votes in the Texas Senate, assuming no vacancies. In 2021, the average number of legislative votes for amendments referred to the ballot was 160.

In 2021, eight of the 218 introduced constitutional amendments were certified for the ballot during the regular session, meaning the rate of certification was 3.7%, down from 4.6% in 2019.

Between 1995 and 2020, 154 of the 169 constitutional amendments that appeared on Texas ballots were approved. The number of ballot measures on odd-year statewide ballots ranged from 7 to 22.

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North Carolina court strikes down voter ID law as unconstitutional

On Sept.17, 2021, a three-judge panel of the Wake County Superior Court ruled 2-1 that North Carolina’s voter ID law violates the state constitution. As a result, the court blocked enforcement of the law.

The court found that “the evidence at trial [is] sufficient to show that the enactment of [the voter ID law] was motivated at least in part by an unconstitutional intent to target African American voters.” The court also ruled that “[o]ther, less restrictive voter ID laws would have sufficed to achieve the legitimate nonracial purposes of implementing the constitutional amendment requiring voter ID, deterring fraud, or enhancing voter confident.” Judges Michael O’Foghludha and Vince M. Rozier Jr. formed the majority. Judge Nathaniel J. Poovey dissented. Sam Hayes, general counsel for House Speaker Tim Moore (R), said Moore would appeal the ruling.

The court’s order represents its final judgment on the matter. The court had previously issued a preliminary injunction barring enforcement of the law on a temporary basis, pending resolution on the merits.

This ruling is the most recent in a series of legal developments involving North Carolina’s voter ID law. On Nov. 6, 2018, North Carolina voters approved a state constitutional amendment establishing a photo identification requirement for voters. The state legislature, with Republican majorities in both chambers, approved implementing legislation (SB 824) in December of that year, overriding Democratic Governor Roy Cooper’s veto. Lawsuits immediately followed, both in federal and state-level courts. In December 2019, a federal district court temporarily enjoined SB 824, but this ruling was subsequently overturned by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. The state lawsuit giving rise to the Sept. 17 order has been ongoing since 2019.



Filing deadline passes for Concord municipal election

The city of Concord, N.H., is holding nonpartisan general elections for mayor and ward councilors on Nov. 2. The filing deadline for candidates paying a fee in this election was Sept. 13. The filing deadline for candidates filing by petition in this election was Sept. 17.

In the mayoral race, incumbent Jim Bouley will face Taylor Hall in the general election. Bouley has served as the city’s mayor since 2008.

Twelve city council seats are on the ballot in 2021. The candidates that win the Nov. 2 general election will serve two-year terms. Ward 5 incumbent Robert Werner and Ward 6 incumbent Linda Denison did not file for re-election.

Nine incumbents—at-large incumbent Amanda Grady Sexton, at-large incumbent Fred Keach, Ward 2 incumbent Erle Pierce, Ward 3 incumbent Jennifer Kretovic, Ward 4 incumbent Karen McNamara, Ward 7 incumbent Keith Nyhan, Ward 8 incumbent Gail Matson, Ward 9 incumbent Candace Bouchard, and Ward 10 incumbent Zandra Rice Hawkins—are unopposed in the general election. Ward 6 candidate Paula McLaughlin is also running unopposed in the election.

There will be two contested races on the general election ballot. Ward 1 incumbent Brent Todd will face off against William Barton. Todd has served on the city council since 2014. In the Ward 5 race, Stacey Brown and former city councilor Mark Coen are facing off in the general election. Coen previously served on the city council for 13 years.

Concord is the third-largest city in New Hampshire. It had an estimated population of 43,627 in 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2021, Ballotpedia is covering municipal elections in 22 counties and 70 cities, including 40 mayoral elections.

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Special election for vacant Iowa House seat called for October

A special election has been called to fill the vacant Iowa House of Representatives seat in District 29. The seat became vacant on Sept. 10 when former state Rep. Wesley Breckenridge (D) resigned to take a job with the Iowa Law Enforcement Agency.

The special election is scheduled for Oct. 12. The candidate filing deadline for the election is Sept. 28. According to the Jasper County Elections website, absentee voting will begin sometime after Sept. 29 and run through Oct. 11. The start of absentee voting will depend on when the auditor’s office receives ballots. Polls will be open on election day from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. CDT. 

To date, 64 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 21 states. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year.

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Checks and Balances – September 2021 – Sue and settle returns to the EPA

The Checks and Balances Letter delivers news and information from Ballotpedia’s Administrative State Project, including pivotal actions at the federal and state levels related to the separation of powers, due process and the rule of law.

This edition: 

In this month’s edition of Checks and Balances, we review federal legislation that would return administrative law judges (ALJs) to the competitive civil service; a new statutory interpretation from the U.S. Department of Education allowing states to regulate student loan servicers; recent decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court that allowed for the continuation of the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” policy and that struck down the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s eviction moratorium; and the return of sue and settle practices at the Environmental Protection Agency. 

At the state level, we take a look at state and local jurisdictions with eviction moratoriums that remain in place after the Supreme Court’s decision.

We also highlight a new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office that surveyed the use of facial recognition technology by federal agencies. As always, we wrap up with our Regulatory Tally, which features information about the 187 proposed rules and 290 final rules added to the Federal Register in August and OIRA’s regulatory review activity.


In Washington

Bill aiming to return ALJs to competitive service advances in House

What’s the story? 

The U.S. House Reform and Oversight Committee on July 20 voted 24-16 along party lines to advance legislation that would redesignate administrative law judges (ALJs) as members of the competitive civil service and reestablish the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s authority over the ALJ hiring process. 

President Donald Trump in 2018 moved ALJs from the competitive civil service to the excepted service via Executive Order 13843. The order aimed to align ALJ appointment practices with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Lucia v. SEC, which held that the ALJs of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are are officers of the United States who must be appointed by the president, the courts, or agency heads rather than hired by agency staff. Prior to the order, OPM screened ALJ candidates through a merit-based selection process as part of the competitive service. Agencies could only hire ALJs from OPM’s pool of vetted candidates.

Supporters of the legislation (the Administrative Law Judges Competitive Service Restoration Act) argue that E.O. 13843 threatens ALJ impartiality by allowing partisan agency heads to appoint ALJs based on their own standards.“This exposed impartial judges, who determined the outcome of disputes over labor-management relations, claims for Social Security and public health benefits, to political influence,” said the bill’s author, Representative Gerry Connolly (D-Va.).

Opponents of the legislation argue that E.O. 13843 strengthens ALJ subject matter expertise by allowing agency heads to consider qualifications beyond the scope of OPM’s generalist vetting criteria. “By placing ALJs in the excepted service, it gave federal departments and agencies greater flexibility to assess prospective ALJ candidates,” said the committee’s ranking member, Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.).

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Department of Education issues new statutory interpretation allowing states to regulate student loan servicers

What’s the story? 

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) on August 9 announced its departure from the Trump administration’s statutory interpretation of the federal Higher Education Act (HEA) that prevented states from regulating student loan servicers. Under the department’s new interpretation, states will be able to develop and enforce consumer protection standards applicable to student loan servicers as long as they are not preempted by federal law.

“Effective collaboration among the states and federal government is the best way to ensure that student loan borrowers get the best possible service,” said Education Secretary Miguel Cardona in a press release. “We welcome public input on this interpretation and look forward to enhancing consumer protections for student loan borrowers by clarifying the relationship between federal and state law on this issue.” 

Former ED Secretary Betsy DeVos aimed to limit state regulation of student loan servicers in order to avoid what she referred to as a regulatory maze of state and federal requirements. Student loan servicers have argued that additional state regulations will increase both business costs and confusion among borrowers.

“Forcing [federal student loan servicers] to serve dozens of state governments that contradict federal rules will create borrower confusion and worsen the borrowers’ repayment experience,” U.S. House Education and Labor Committee ranking member Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) told The Washington Post. “The department’s bureaucratic incompetence, combined with inherent design flaws in the Higher Education Act, are the reasons why borrowers get left behind.”

Since 2014, more than half of all states have proposed or implemented state-level requirements for student loan servicers. In some states, such as Virginia and Massachusetts, these requirements take the form of a borrower’s bill of rights—minimum timeliness standards for loan processing, communications, and other concerns. Similar legislation is pending in a dozen states, according to the Student Borrower Protection Center.

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SCOTUS declines to block Remain in Mexico policy, strikes down CDC’s eviction moratorium 

What’s the story? 

The U.S. Supreme Court last month issued two noteworthy decisions concerning the exercise of agency authority. The court first declined to block a district judge’s ruling that ordered the Biden administration to reinstate the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols (known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy). The court later found that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) eviction moratorium issued in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic was unconstitutional.

In an unsigned order, the court on August 24 declined to block a ruling from U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk in Biden v. Texas that directed the Biden administration to reinstate the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Migrant Protection Protocols. The program, instituted under the Trump administration, requires asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico prior to their immigration hearings. 

The justices found that the “applicants have failed to show a likelihood of success on the claim that the memorandum rescinding the Migrant Protection Protocols was not arbitrary and capricious.” While six justices supported the order, Justices Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, and Stephen Breyer would have issued a stay to block the district court ruling while the case moves through the appeals process.

Two days later, the court issued another unsigned opinion in Alabama Association of Realtors v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services holding that the CDC’s eviction moratorium unlawfully exceeded the agency’s statutory authority. “It strains credulity to believe that [§361(a) of the Public Health Service Act] grants the CDC the sweeping authority that it asserts,” wrote the majority justices. 

Justices Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, and Stephen Breyer again dissented, arguing in part that “it is far from ‘demonstrably’ clear that the CDC lacks the power to issue its modified moratorium order.”

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WOTUS ruling signals return of sue and settle

What’s the story?

U.S. District Judge Rosemary Marquez on August 30 issued a decision in Pasqua Yaqui Tribe et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that vacated and remanded the Trump administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR), which narrowed the scope of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The ruling signals a return to sue and settle practices at the EPA, which the Trump administration had outlawed through an agency directive in 2017.

Sue and settle is a term used to describe cases in which a federal agency is sued by an interested party, declines to defend itself in court, and negotiates a settlement with the plaintiff in a non-adversarial process. Through sue and settle, outside groups sue an agency in order to reach a settlement on terms favorable to the regulatory goals of both.

The NWPR adopted a narrow definition of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) that limited the EPA’s authority to regulate certain waters, including wetlands. The rule adopted Justice Antonin Scalia’s reasoning in Rapanos v. United States (2006) that only wetlands adjacent to navigable waters fall under CWA oversight. A coalition of Native American tribes challenged the rule in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona, arguing that the WOTUS definition under the NWPR disregards established science and is inconsistent with the statutory objectives of the CWA.

The EPA under the Biden administration had “expressed an intent to repeal the NWPR and return to the pre-2015 regulatory regime while working on a new definition of ‘waters of the United States,’” according to Judge Marquez’s opinion. 

Judge Marquez ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, finding that their concerns “are not mere procedural errors or problems that could be remedied through further explanation. Rather, they involve fundamental, substantive flaws that cannot be cured without revising or replacing the NWPR’s definition of ‘waters of the United States.’” 

It is unclear what standard now controls WOTUS regulation under the CWA. The Trump administration rescinded a 2015 Obama-era WOTUS regulation and the U.S. Supreme Court in Rapanos and Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County (SWANCC) v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (2001) found the pre-2015 regulations to be overly expansive, according to administrative law scholar Jonathan Adler. 

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In the states

Eviction bans continue across the states

What’s the story? 

The U.S. Supreme Court on August 26 struck down the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) federal eviction moratorium but similar eviction bans issued in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic remain in effect in cities and states across the country.

The following selected state and local jurisdictions had eviction bans in place as of September 13:

  • California’s eviction moratorium remains in effect until September 30. 
  • Illinois’ eviction moratorium expires on October 3. 
  • New Jersey’s eviction ban expires in January 2022. 
  • Washington D.C.’s eviction ban expires in January 2022.
  • New Mexico’s eviction moratorium does not have a set expiration date.
  • New York’s eviction moratorium expires in January 2022.
  • Washington’s eviction ban remains in effect under certain circumstances through October 15.

The above list is not comprehensive and additional eviction bans may remain in effect. State and local programs that aim to support renters seeking rental assistance, such as a Nevada policy that prohibits the eviction of tenants who have applied for rental assistance, may also function as de facto eviction bans.

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GAO report sheds light on federal agency use of facial recognition technology

An August 24 report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that at least 18 federal agencies use facial recognition technology (FRT).

The GAO survey of 24 federal agencies revealed the following findings: 

  • Sixteen agencies stated that they use FRT for digital access or cybersecurity, including 14 agencies that use FRT for employees to unlock their agency-issued smartphones and two agencies that use FRT to control website access. 
  • Six agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Justice (DOJ), and Department of Defense (DOD) reported using FRT for law enforcement purposes.
  • Five agencies reported using FRT for security purposes, such as controlling building access. 
  • Ten agencies planned to expand their use of FRT.

“It’s becoming increasingly important to get a more comprehensive understanding of the use of facial recognition technology across federal agencies,” Candice Wright, a director in GAO’s Science, Technology Assessment and Analytics Team, told Cox Media Group. “There’s certainly been a lot of advancements recently with facial recognition technology. It has been increasingly used for a range of purposes in both the commercial and government sectors.”

The report raised concerns among privacy advocates, including Adam Schwartz, senior attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “This technology is dangerous. It leads to people being falsely arrested, it invades our privacy, it deters people from going to protests,” Schwartz told Popular Mechanics. “The government should not be using it at all, so it is pretty sad to read that they’re actually expanding their use of it.”

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Regulatory tally

Federal Register

Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA)

OIRA’s August regulatory review activity included the following actions:

  • Review of 37 significant regulatory actions. 
  • One rule approved without changes; recommended changes to 33 proposed rules; three rules withdrawn from the review process.
  • As of September 1, 2021, OIRA’s website listed 77 regulatory actions under review.
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How Clallam County picks its governors

Clallam County, Wash., knows how to pick a winner— at least when it comes to presidential politics.

Every four years, going back to 1980, it has voted for the winning presidential candidate, making it the county with the longest record of anticipating the country’s next commander-in-chief— whether Republican or Democrat. That puts Clallam County at odds with Washington, a state that hasn’t selected a Republican presidential candidate since 1984. While Clallam has voted Republican in six of the last 11 presidential elections, Washington has voted Republican in only two.

When it comes to choosing Washington’s governor, Clallam County has struck a more consistent note, though one still mostly at odds with the rest of the state. Clallam has voted Republican in eight out of the last 11 gubernatorial elections. Since 1980, Clallam County has voted for a Democrat in 1984, 1988, and 2000, and for a Republican ever since.

Washington, however, has selected a Democratic governor in every election since 1984.

The following table contrasts Clallam’s gubernatorial voting record since 2000 with Washington’s statewide results.

Although Clallam has selected Republican governors since 2004, the results have been close, with no more than a 10% margin separating the Republican candidate from the Democratic one. In 2008, 2016, and 2020, the margin separating the two candidates was under two percent, reflecting Clallam’s political diversity.

Clallam County is holding municipal elections in its three cities—Port Angeles, Sequim, and Forks— in 2021. Twenty-six offices are up for election in those cities.



Ohio Redistricting Commission approves new state legislative maps along party lines

The Ohio Redistricting Commission approved new state legislative district maps by a 5-2 vote early in the morning on Sept. 16. The two Democratic members of the commission, state Rep. Emilia Sykes (D) and state Sen. Vernon Sykes (D), were the two dissenting votes. Since the map was approved along partisan lines, it will only last for four years, rather than ten, as outlined in the 2015 constitutional amendment creating the commission.

Senate President Matt Huffman (R), a member of the commission, estimated that the new maps would create 62 Republican seats and 37 Democratic seats in the House, and 23 Republican seats and 10 Democratic seats in the Senate. Cleveland.com reported that Democrats on the commission agreed with the Senate estimates, but said the new House map would create 65 Republican seats and 34 Democratic seats.

A statement from the commission explaining the manner by which districts were allocated said: “The Commission considered statewide state and federal partisan general election results during the last ten years. There were sixteen such contests. When considering the results of each of those elections, the Commission determined that Republican candidates won thirteen out of sixteen of those elections. […] Accordingly, the statewide proportion of districts whose voters favor each political party corresponds closely to the statewide preferences of the voters of Ohio.”

Following the enactment of the maps, Huffman released a statement saying: “These house and senate maps will be in place for the next four years, and represent an important first step towards approving the next map that will complete the decade. […] I’m convinced we could’ve reached a ten-year map. However, special interests pressured democrats to not support it, asking voters to extend the deadline to accomplish that.”

Leading up to the vote, Emilia Sykes disapproved of the maps as overly partisan, saying she would “call it offensive and plain wrong to move forward this map […] to put forth something that so arrogantly flies in the face of what people, our voters, asked us to do, not once, but twice.”

Commission members Gov. Mike DeWine (R) and Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R) expressed disapproval of the maps and said they expected court challenges to follow their vote. DeWine said: “Along with the secretary of state I will vote to send this matter forward but it will not be the end of it. We know that this matter will be in court. […] What I am sure in my heart is that this committee could have come up with a bill that was much more clearly constitutional.”

Click here to view images of the maps and read more about redistricting in Ohio following the 2020 census.

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