A three-judge panel has dismissed a motion from a Youngstown pastor and community activist to reconsider a rejection of their claim that Ohio's latest congressional map doesn’t adequately represent Black voters.

The dismissal was posted on Monday after U.S. District Court Judges John R. Adams and Solomon Oliver, Jr. and Circuit Judge Joan L. Larsen rejected a request from Reverend Kenneth Simon of New Bethel Baptist Church and community activist Helen Youngblood that the panel reconsider last year’s dismissal of a civil rights lawsuit filed in 2021.

The lawsuit, filed against Governor Mike DeWine, Secretary of State Frank LaRose, and the Ohio Redistricting Commission, claimed those who voted in support of Ohio’s Congressional and State senate plan did not consider how the new map would impact Black voters in Mahoning County.

Citing the Voting Rights Act and constitutional issues, the complaint accused the Redistricting Commission of “wholesale disregard” of their duties to draw legislative districts to consider whether the boundaries adopted deprive Black voters of an equal opportunity to participate in the political process and to elect representation of choice.

The suit alleged that by combining Mahoning County with several counties to the south, that traditionally vote Republican, the vote of the Black community would be diluted.

The judges found that Simon and Youngblood failed to show that it is possible to create a voting district here that would represent a majority of Black voters without “crossover” votes from non-Black voters.

In addition, the panel ruled that the lawsuit sought relief that couldn’t be provided by Governor DeWine and the other defendants.

In the ruling, the judges noted that Simon and Youngblood contradicted their own argument by alleging that the defendants “intentionally decided to ignore race” while also claiming that the defendants “did not use demographic or racial data in the production of [their] maps.”

The panel granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss and denied the plaintiff's motions for a temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction, and partial summary judgment.