Ohio Constitution
The 1851 Constitution with Amendments to 2015

 

Article XIX - Congressional Redistricting

§ 01 Method of adopting congressional redistricting plan

(A) Except as otherwise provided in this section, the general assembly shall be responsible for the redistricting of this state for congress based on the prescribed number of congressional districts apportioned to the state pursuant to Section 2 of Article I of the Constitution of the United States.

Not later than the last day of September of a year ending in the numeral one, the general assembly shall pass a congressional district plan in the form of a bill by the affirmative vote of three-fifths of the members of each house of the general assembly, including the affirmative vote of at least one-half of the members of each of the two largest political parties represented in that house. A congressional district plan that is passed under this division and becomes law shall remain effective until the next year ending in the numeral one, except as provided in Section 3 of this article.

(B) If a congressional district plan is not passed not later than the last day of September of a year ending in the numeral one and filed with the secretary of state in accordance with Section 16 of Article II of this constitution, then the Ohio redistricting commission described in Article XI of this constitution shall adopt a congressional district plan not later than the last day of October of that year by the affirmative vote of four members of the commission, including at least two members of the commission who represent each of the two largest political parties represented in the general assembly. The plan shall take effect upon filing with the secretary of state and shall remain effective until the next year ending in the numeral one, except as provided in Section 3 of this article.

(C)(1) If the Ohio redistricting commission does not adopt a plan not later than the last day of October of a year ending in the numeral one, then the general assembly shall pass a congressional district plan in the form of a bill not later than the last day of November of that year.

(2) If the general assembly passes a congressional district plan under division (C)(1) of this section by the affirmative vote of three-fifths of the members of each house of the general assembly, including the affirmative vote of at least one-third of the members of each of the two largest political parties represented in that house , and the plan becomes law, the plan shall remain effective until the next year ending in the numeral one, except as provided in Section 3 of this article.

(3) If the general assembly passes a congressional district plan under division (C)(1) of this section by a simple majority of the members of each house of the general assembly, and not by the vote described in division (C)(2) of this section, all of the following shall apply:

(a) The general assembly shall not pass a plan that unduly favors or disfavors a political party or its incumbents.

(b) The general assembly shall not unduly split governmental units, giving preference to keeping whole, in the order named, counties, then townships and municipal corporations.

(c) Division (B)(2) of Section 2 of this article shall not apply to the plan. The general assembly shall attempt to draw districts that are compact.

(d) The general assembly shall include in the plan an explanation of the plan's compliance with divisions (C)(3)(a) to (c) of this section.

(e) If the plan becomes law, the plan shall remain effective until two general elections for the United States house of representatives have occurred under the plan, except as provided in Section 3 of this article.

(D) Not later than the last day of September of the year after the year in which a plan expires under division (C)(3)(e) of this section, the general assembly shall pass a congressional district plan in the form of a bill by the affirmative vote of three-fifths of the members of each house of the general assembly, including the affirmative vote of at least one-half of the members of each of the two largest political parties represented in that house. A congressional district plan that is passed under this division and becomes law shall remain effective until the next year ending in the numeral one, except as provided in Section 3 of this article.

A congressional district plan passed under this division shall be drawn using the federal decennial census data or other data on which the previous redistricting was based.

(E) If a congressional district plan is not passed not later than the last day of September of the year after the year in which a plan expires under division (C)(3)(e) of this section and filed with the secretary of state in accordance with Section 16 of Article II of this constitution, then the Ohio redistricting commission described in Article XI of this constitution shall be reconstituted and reconvene and shall adopt a congressional district plan not later than the last day of October of that year by the affirmative vote of four members of the commission, including at least two members of the commission who represent each of the two largest political parties represented in the general assembly. A congressional district plan adopted under this division shall take effect upon filing with the secretary of state and shall remain effective until the next year ending in the numeral one, except as provided in Section 3 of this article.

A congressional district plan adopted under this division shall be drawn using the federal decennial census data or other data on which the previous redistricting was based.

(F)(1) If the Ohio redistricting commission does not adopt a congressional district plan not later than the last day of October of the year after the year in which a plan expires under division (C)(3)(e) of this section, then the general assembly shall pass a congressional district plan in the form of a bill not later than the last day of November of that year.

A congressional district plan adopted under this division shall be drawn using the federal decennial census data or other data on which the previous redistricting was based.

(2) If the general assembly passes a congressional district plan under division (F)(1) of this section by the affirmative vote of three-fifths of the members of each house, including the affirmative vote of at least one-third of the members of each of the two largest political parties represented in that house, and the plan becomes law, it shall remain effective until the next year ending in the numeral one, except as provided in Section 3 of this article.

(3) If the general assembly passes a congressional district plan under division (F)(1) of this section by a simple majority vote of the members of each house of the general assembly, and not by the vote described in division (F)(2) of this section, all of the following shall apply:

(a) The general assembly shall not pass a plan that unduly favors or disfavors a political party or its incumbents.

(b) The general assembly shall not unduly split governmental units, giving preference to keeping whole, in the order named, counties, then townships and municipal corporations.

(c) Division (B)(2) of Section 2 of this article shall not apply to the plan. The general assembly shall attempt to draw districts that are compact.

(d) The general assembly shall include in the plan an explanation of the plan's compliance with divisions (F)(3)(a) to (c) of this section.

(e) If the plan becomes law, the plan shall remain effective until the next year ending in the numeral one, except as provided in Section 3 of this article.

(G) Before the general assembly passes a congressional district plan under any division of this section, a joint committee of the general assembly shall hold at least two public committee hearings concerning a proposed plan. Before the Ohio redistricting commission adopts a congressional district plan under any division of this section, the commission shall hold at least two public hearings concerning a proposed plan.

(H) The general assembly and the Ohio redistricting commission shall facilitate and allow for the submission of proposed congressional district plans by members of the public. The general assembly shall provide by law the manner in which members of the public may do so.

(I) For purposes of filing a congressional district plan with the governor or the secretary of state under this article, a congressional district plan shall include both a legal description of the boundaries of the congressional districts and all electronic data necessary to create a congressional district map for the purpose of holding congressional elections.

(J) When a congressional district plan ceases to be effective under this article, the district boundaries described in that plan shall continue in operation for the purpose of holding elections until a new congressional district plan takes effect in accordance with this article. If a vacancy occurs in a district that was created under the previous district plan, the election to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the unexpired term shall be held using the previous district plan.

(SJR 5, 132nd General Assembly, Approved May 8, 2018; Effective 1/1/2021)

§ 02 Requirements for drawing congressional districts

(A)(1) Each congressional district shall be entitled to a single representative in the United States house of representatives in each congress.

(2) The whole population of the state, as determined by the federal decennial census or, if the federal decennial census is unavailable, another basis as directed by the general assembly, shall be divided by the number of congressional districts apportioned to the state pursuant to Section 2 of Article I of the Constitution of the United States, and the quotient shall be the congressional ratio of representation for the next ten years.

(3) Notwithstanding the fact that boundaries of counties, municipal corporations, and townships within a district may be changed, district boundaries shall be created by using the data from the most recent federal decennial census or from the basis directed by the general assembly, as applicable.

(B) A congressional district plan shall comply with all of the following requirements:

(1) The plan shall comply with all applicable provisions of the constitutions of Ohio and the United States and of federal law, including federal laws protecting racial minority voting rights.

(2) Every congressional district shall be compact.

(3) Every congressional district shall be composed of contiguous territory, and the boundary of each district shall be a single nonintersecting continuous line.

(4) Except as otherwise required by federal law, in a county that contains a population that exceeds the congressional ratio of representation, the authority drawing the districts shall take the first of the following actions that applies to that county:

(a) If a municipal corporation or township located in that county contains a population that exceeds the congressional ratio of representation, the authority shall attempt to include a significant portion of that municipal corporation or township in a single district and may include in that district other municipal corporations or townships that are located in that county and whose residents have similar interests as the residents of the municipal corporation or township that contains a population that exceeds the congressional ratio of representation. In determining whether the population of a municipal corporation or township exceeds the congressional ratio of representation for the purpose of this division, if the territory of that municipal corporation or township completely surrounds the territory of another municipal corporation or township, the territory of the surrounded municipal corporation or township shall be considered part of the territory of the surrounding municipal corporation or township.

(b) If one municipal corporation or township in that county contains a population of not less than one hundred thousand and not more than the congressional ratio of representation, that municipal corporation or township shall not be split. If that county contains two or more such municipal corporations or townships, only the most populous of those municipal corporations or townships shall not be split.

(5) Of the eighty-eight counties in this state, sixty-five counties shall be contained entirely within a district, eighteen counties may be split not more than once, and five counties may be split not more than twice. The authority drawing the districts may determine which counties may be split.

(6) If a congressional district includes only part of the territory of a particular county, the part of that congressional district that lies in that particular county shall be contiguous within the boundaries of the county.

(7) No two congressional districts shall share portions of the territory of more than one county, except for a county whose population exceeds four hundred thousand.

(8) The authority drawing the districts shall attempt to include at least one whole county in each congressional district. This division does not apply to a congressional district that is contained entirely within one county or that cannot be drawn in that manner while complying with federal law.

(C)(1) Except as otherwise provided in division (C)(2) of this section, for purposes of this article, a county, municipal corporation, or township is considered to be split if, based on the census data used for the purpose of redistricting, any contiguous portion of its territory is not contained entirely within one district.

(2) If a municipal corporation or township has territory in more than one county, the contiguous portion of that municipal corporation or township that lies in each county shall be considered to be a separate municipal corporation or township for purposes of this section.

(SJR 5, 132nd General Assembly, Approved May 8, 2018; Effective 1/1/2021)

§ 03 Jurisdiction of Supreme Court; effect of determination of unconstitutionality

(A) The supreme court of Ohio shall have exclusive, original jurisdiction in all cases arising under this article.

(B)(1) In the event that any section of this constitution relating to congressional redistricting, any congressional district plan, or any congressional district or group of congressional districts is challenged and is determined to be invalid by an unappealed final order of a court of competent jurisdiction then, notwithstanding any other provisions of this constitution, the general assembly shall pass a congressional district plan in accordance with the provisions of this constitution that are then valid, to be used until the next time for redistricting under this article in accordance with the provisions of this constitution that are then valid.

The general assembly shall pass that plan not later than the thirtieth day after the last day on which an appeal of the court order could have been filed or, if the order is not appealable, the thirtieth day after the day on which the order is issued.

A congressional district plan passed under this division shall remedy any legal defects in the previous plan identified by the court but shall include no changes to the previous plan other than those made in order to remedy those defects.

(2) If a new congressional district plan is not passed in accordance with division (B)(1) of this section and filed with the secretary of state in accordance with Section 16 of Article II of this constitution, the Ohio redistricting commission shall be reconstituted and reconvene and shall adopt a congressional district plan in accordance with the provisions of this constitution that are then valid, to be used until the next time for redistricting under this article in accordance with the provisions of this constitution that are then valid.

The commission shall adopt that plan not later than the thirtieth day after the deadline described in division (B)(1) of this section.

A congressional district plan adopted under this division shall remedy any legal defects in the previous plan identified by the court but shall include no other changes to the previous plan other than those made in order to remedy those defects.

(SJR 5, 132nd General Assembly, Approved May 8, 2018; Effective 1/1/2021)

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