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Equal Districts Coalition demands legal state House and Senate redistricting maps in Ohio after a panel of federal judges refuses to intervene and leaves the decision to the Ohio Supreme Court for now....By

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Equal Districts Coalition, a group of over 30 Ohio advocacy organizations and labor unions engaged in the redistricting process, released a statement on Wednesday after a panel of federal judges chose to leave decisions regarding Ohio's State House and Senate redistricting process to the Ohio Supreme Court for the time being.

The judges, however, did say that they will implement new Ohio House and Ohio Senate district maps if state officials cannot reach a new agreement by May 28.

"Today, Ohio voters won yet another round of the redistricting fight as a panel of federal judges rightfully chose to leave decisions involving Ohio's constitution and Ohio's legislative districts up to Ohio's highest court for the time being," said Katy Shanahan, a representative from the Equal Districts Coalition who earned both her law degree and graduate degrees from The Ohio State University, where she wrote a thesis on redistricting and which entity draws the fairest maps.

The Ohio Supreme Court on last Thursday struck down state House and Senate redistricting maps approved by the seven-member Republican-dominated Ohio Redistricting Commission for the fourth time in under three months, ruling 4-3 that the maps are unconstitutional and that they violate anti-gerrymandering rules approved seven-years-ago by Ohio voters.  The discrepancy has caused a delay in the election of Ohio lawmakers, which will not be on the May 3 primary ballot in Ohio, an almost unprecedented measure in the history of voting in Ohio.

The court said that the maps are not much different than the previously three submitted sets of maps and that, again, they fail to pass constitutional muster. Simply put, the court said that the maps are drawn to make it easier for Republican candidates in Ohio state House and Senate district races to win office over Democrats, both the House and Senate currently controlled by Republicans.

The court ordered the commission, which includes Gov Mike DeWine, House Speaker Robert Cupp, auditor Keith Faber, and Secretary of State Frank LaRose, to approve yet another set of maps by a May 6 deadline. And it denied requests by the League of Women Voters of Ohio and other plaintiffs who filed suit against the commission for failing to abide by the court’s orders to demonstrate why it should not be held in contempt of court.

The Equal District Coalition said that the decision by the federal judicial panel not to intervene gives Republicans another chance to come up with fair and legal maps.

The Equal Districts Coalition is the largest redistricting coalition in Ohio, with over 30 member organizations. It includes the Ohio State Conference of the NAACP, Ohio Organizing Collaborative, OAPSE/AFSCME, Ohio Farmers Union, AFSCME Ohio Council 8, the Ohio Environmental Council, Innovation Ohio, the Ohio Student Association, OFUPAC, ProgressOhio, All On the Line-Ohio, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio, Ohio Council of Churches, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, URGE – Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity, LEAD Ohio, the Ohio Women's Alliance, the Ohio Federation of Teachers, Ohio Education Association, CAIR-Ohio, Campus Vote Project, For Our Future Ohio, Ohio Unity Coalition, Equality Ohio, The Freedom Bloc, and more.

By Kathy Wray Coleman, associate publisher, editor. Coleman is a seasoned Black Cleveland journalist who trained at the Call and Post Newspaper for 17 years and an experienced investigative and political reporter. She is the most read independent journalist in Ohio per and, the most read Black digital newspaper and Black blog in Ohio and in the Midwest. Tel: (216) 659-0473. Email: We interviewed former president Barack Obama one-on-one when he was campaigning for president. As to the Obama interview, CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE AT CLEVELAND URBAN NEWS.COM, OHIO'S LEADER IN BLACK DIGITAL NEWS.


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