In May, Ohio voters embraced a much improved way to redraw U.S. House districts. The new process requires a level of bipartisanship missing in the past. Thus, the districts are less likely to suffer from the severe gerrymandering currently evident. Unfortunately, for now, the change won’t take place until the 2022 elections, or after the completion of the census.

That means the 2020 elections will go ahead with the districts as they are. That is, unless the American Civil Liberties Union, the League of Women Voters, the A. Philip Randolph Institute and other plaintiffs somehow prevail in the lawsuit they filed nine months ago arguing, correctly, that the districts guarantee a big partisan advantage for Republicans. On Friday, they received good news. A panel of three federal judges unanimously denied a request from the state to delay the lawsuit.

As a result, a trial, scheduled for March 4, remains on the calendar, the door still open to meeting a September deadline for having new and better districts drawn for elections next year.

The state requested the delay in view of the U.S. Supreme Court now with two gerrymandering cases on its docket, rulings expected by the end of its current term. The three judges stressed that the high court’s docket didn’t matter. They cited the “tight time constraints” in the case before them, a delay amounting to a “severe hardship” for the plaintiffs, essentially bringing an end to their lawsuit, the fall deadline beyond reach. As it is, if the high court rules in some defining way, that can be addressed.

In the past, the justices have been willing to strike down racial gerrymandering. They have steered clear of trying to determine what, precisely, is excessive partisan gerrymandering, leaving the politicians to vie in what is a political process. The reality is, political operatives have taken things too far, aided by troves of data and increasingly sophisticated software, resulting in the problem many highlight, politicians choosing their voters as opposed to the reverse.

The technological tools are going to become more formidable. So Ohio voters did the right thing in approving a process that demands bipartisanship. Why not just wait until it takes effect? Because the districts today are egregious

The recent U.S. House races tell the story. Republican candidates won slightly more than 50 percent of the vote. Yet they prevailed in 12 of 16 districts, as they have since 2012. It is hard to conceive of circumstances in which the outcome would be different. In that way, voters have been diminished. More, the situation here begins to answer the question the Supreme Court has weighed: What is too partisan? When the extreme partisan result is immutable.

Critics of the lawsuit have asked: Why wait so long, permitting elections to pass in 2012, ‘14, ‘16 and ‘18? If anything, the severity of the gerrymandering has come into sharper relief, advanced by real votes and campaign facts. Is the suggestion that the timing is so late Ohioans should be consigned to another election cycle with such awful districts? Actually, the lines are so bad that the concept of better-late-than-never easily applies.

On that point, there is more bipartisan agreement than critics indicate. Consider the route Ohio voters took to approving the new redistricting process. They were led by Democrats and Republicans who recognized the need for change. That thinking drives the lawsuit now headed for trial. Ohioans shouldn’t have to wait.