Attorneys for Ohio Republican officials will call witnesses this week to defend the state's congressional map.
A federal trial enters its second week Monday in a lawsuit by voter rights groups that say the current seats resulted from "an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander." Their witnesses have included Democratic activists and voters who have expressed frustration and confusion with districts that have stayed at 12 Republicans, four Democrats, since they were drawn ahead of the 2012 elections.
Named defendants in the lawsuit include Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof.
Attorneys for the Republican officials being sued say the map resulted from bipartisan compromise, with each party losing one seat after population shifts in the 2010 U.S. Census caused Ohio to lose two congressional seats.
Republicans hold office in 12 of Ohio’s 16 congressional districts, while only holding a slim majority in the number of registered voters.
Ohio’s current map is already set to be redrawn in 2021 after the next census, but the federal lawsuits seeks to have it thrown out and replaced ahead of the 2020 election. Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose says that would unnecessarily confuse voters.
Among potential GOP witnesses is former U.S. House Speaker John Boehner of West Chester, Ohio.