Ohio Supreme Court Leaves Primary Election Date in Hands of General Assembly

Robert Cupp and Vernon Sykes
by J.D. Davidson


The Ohio Supreme Court rejected a Democrat request to move the state primary to June, while independent map makers told the Ohio Redistricting Commission progress is slow creating a fourth set of state legislative districts.

The Supreme Court left the power to establish election dates and times in the hands of the General Assembly after Sen. Vernon Sykes, D-Akron, and House Minority Leader Allison Russo, D-Upper Arlington, filed a motion last week to have the court set a new date.

“The League II majority opinion specifically states that ‘[t]he General Assembly established the date of the primary election, and it has the authority to ease the pressure that the commission’s failure to adopt a constitutional redistricting plan has placed on the secretary of state and on county boards of elections by moving the primary election, should that action become necessary.’ This conclusion was emphasized in my dissenting opinion in League of Women Voters of Ohio v. Ohio Redistricting Commission,” Justice Patrick Fischer wrote in an opinion concurring with the court’s ruling.

Senate President Matt Huffman, R-Lima, and House Speaker Bob Cupp, R-Lima, called the motion to move the primary a waste of time and an attempt for Democrats to remove power from the General Assembly.

“Therefore Respondents Russo and Sykes’ motion to move the primary election date does nothing but waste this Court’s time relitigating issues raised by Petitioners at every stage of this litigation, that the Court has consistently declined to entertain,” according to Huffman and Cupp’s motion.

The two independent map makers recently hired told the commission software had not been installed and data had to be removed, which took longer than expected on the duo’s first day.

The two, who work in a room with a live camera feed available to the public, said time constraints create challenges, and the two expected to work through the weekend to try to meet the court’s Monday deadline to have maps to Secretary of State Frank LaRose.

LaRose is ordered to have those maps to the court by 9 a.m. Tuesday.

The two also presented the commission with several questions Thursday night, ranging from where to place small census blocks of data to how to handle toss-up districts.

The commission will meet again late Friday afternoon and has meetings scheduled Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

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J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist at The Center Square with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher.
Photo “Bob Cupp” by The Ohio House of Representatives. Background Photo “Ohio State Capitol” by . CC BY-SA 4.0.

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