The official notice states that, after DeWine reconvenes the commission, “the appointments of any appointed members of the commission will be entered into the record, the administration of the Oath of Office will occur, the roll will be called, the co-chairpersons will be formally entered into the record and the meeting will be turned over to the co-chairpersons.”
This follows Attorney General Dave Yost sending a letter to the Commission last week saying only the Governor has the authority to reconvene the panel after the Commission’s co-chairs State Representative Jeff LaRe (R-Fairfield County) and Senate Minority Leader Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) scheduled the first 2023 meeting of the panel themselves for September 13th.
According to Antonio, she and LaRe followed past practice, calling for the commission to reconvene.
“I’m glad that Representative LaRe and I got the ball rolling to schedule the first meeting of the Ohio Redistricting Commission. We followed past practice by calling for the Ohio Redistricting Commission to meet on September 13th,” Antonio said.
The Ohio Supreme Court rejected the more recent two congressional maps created by Republicans in July of 2022. Ohio used the earlier GOP-designed map for its 2022 primary and won’t use an updated one until 2024. The redistricting commission redraws the legislative and congressional maps every 10 years to reflect demographic changes following the U.S. Census.
Republican state legislators appealed the Supreme Court ruling on congressional redistricting to the U.S. Supreme Court in October.
Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a summary judgment, a decision made without listening to oral arguments, reversing the Ohio Supreme Court’s judgment from last July that the congressional districting process unfairly favored the Republican Party. The Court’s ruling means new boundaries need to be drawn for next year’s legislative elections.
As previously reported by The Ohio Star, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose says that the commission needs to begin drawing the new maps as soon as possible because any delay could potentially conflict with the statutory requirements of election administration if final maps aren’t approved by the end of this month.
According to LaRose, the commission must approve its final legislative maps by September 22nd. Other important dates LaRose outlined are that October 23rd is the last possible date for map approval, November 6th is the last possible date to provide new maps to local boards of elections, and November 20th is the last date for candidates to move to new districts to run in them.
LaRose said he calculated the deadline by working backward from the December 20th filing deadline for the 2024 March primary and allowing for the possibility of lawsuits.
According to LaRose, if the Commission does not meet the September 22nd deadline it will be a “bad scenario for Ohioans, and it should be avoided at all costs.”
Other members of the Ohio Redistricting Commission include DeWine, LaRose, State Auditor Keith Faber, Senate Majority Whip Rob McColley (R-Napoleon), and House Minority Leader Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington).
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Hannah Poling is a lead reporter at The Ohio Star, The Star News Network, and The Tennessee Star. Follow Hannah on Twitter @HannahPoling1. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Gov. Mike DeWine” by Gov. Mike DeWine.