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New congressional map splits Southeast Ohio among three districts

Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 6:06 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 23, 2021 at 6:19 PM EST
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UNDATED- (WTAP) - A newly drawn and approved map divides Southeast Ohio among the 6th, 12th, and second congressional districts.

The map was approved last week by the Ohio Legislature and signed into law Saturday by Gov. Mike DeWine.

Traditionally, most of the region’s counties have been in the 6th district, represented since 2011 by Congressman Bill Johnson.

“We knew with, losing a seat in Ohio, that all of the remaining 15 districts had to grow and take on more voters,” Republican Johnson told WTAP Tuesday. “I could not grow south, I could not grow east. The only direction I could grow was north and west.”

Johnson’s district will now send a small chunk of Washington County to the 12th district, currently represented by Republican Troy Balderson. It’s the first time in recent memory the county has not been entirely been in one congressional district.

The question being raised is: is this new map constitutional, especially as it relates to a state constitutional amendment passed by voters a few years ago?

“As I read it, it has elements that are unconstitutional within it, things they have violated,” Ohio State University Political Science Professor Paul Beck told WBNS-TV, Columbus. “But it also violates the spirit of the Constitutional amendment which was to create fairness.”

And the National Democratic Redistricting Committee’s legal arm agrees. In filing a lawsuit Monday in the state supreme court on behalf of a group of Ohio voters. According to the suit, the map is ``even more rigged than its predecessor and an outlier among partisan gerrymanders nationwide.’’ Ohio’s ruling Republicans assert the map doesn’t unduly favor either political party.

AP-WF-11-23-21 1554GMT

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