Our union’s work in helping elect Ohio Supreme Court justices who share our values has led to a huge victory for democracy in which the state’s Supreme Court struck down gerrymandered legislative maps.
The Ohio Supreme Court ruled 4 to 3 that the Republican-drawn state House and Senate maps were unconstitutional, sending the maps back to the Redistricting Commission to be redrawn to ensure fair elections.
Ohio voters voted in November 2015 to establish the commission to draw fair legislative maps at the state and federal level. The Supreme Court’s decision made it clear that the commission did not act in good faith to follow the Ohio Constitution and honor the wishes of voters for fair maps.
“We hold that the plan is invalid because the commission did not attempt to draw a plan that meets the proportionality standard in Article XI, Section 6(B). We also conclude that the commission did not attempt to draw a plan that meets the standard in Section 6(A)—that no plan shall be drawn primarily to favor a political party,” Ohio Supreme Court Justice Melody Stewart wrote the majority opinion, joined by Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor.
AFGE has been involved in electing Supreme Court justices in the last three election cycles. The Ohio Supreme Court has a chief justice and 6 justices. Until 2018, Republicans held the Chief Justice seat and 5 others. Democrats held one.
The AFL-CIO in Ohio worked hard in 2018 and 2020, investing in a statewide ground program on doors, phones, and union mail. The investment paid off when we defended the one Democratic seat and flipped one Republican seat. In 2020, another seat was flipped from Republican to Democrat. The Republican majority, which has consistently found in favor of corporations and owners over workers, was cut to 4-3 margin.
“AFGE rank and file volunteers spent hundreds of hours knocking on doors, doing mailings and making phone calls to flip the seats in 2018 and 2020,” said AFGE Legislative and Political Organizer David Sheagley. “If the work had not been done in the AFGE and AFL-CIO election ground programs, the Ohio Supreme Court would not have sent the maps back to reconsideration and maintained jurisdiction over the redrawn maps.”