A federal court gave the Ohio Redistricting Commission until May 28 to draw state legislative redistricting maps that meet a court order, or it will implement a previously rejected map so the state can hold an Aug. 2 primary.
The three-judge panel, voting 2-1, said it would impose the commission’s third set of maps because the state had started preparing to use those maps before they were declared unconstitutional by the Ohio Supreme Court.
Republican members of the Ohio Redistricting Commission say they did everything the state Supreme Court ordered them to do. Still, they say independent map makers ran out of time, leaving tweaks to a previously unconstitutional GOP plan as the only option for new state legislative districts.
The responses from Gov. Mike DeWine, Secretary of State Frank LaRose, State Auditor Keith Faber, Senate President Matt Huffman, R-Lima, and House Speaker Robert Cupp, R-Lima, came at the 9 a.m. deadline on Monday the court gave to show cause why the group should not be held in contempt.
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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.
Ohio voters will not be able to decide on candidates for the state Legislature during the May 3 primary after the state Supreme Court struck down new district maps for the third time.
In a letter to House and Senate leadership and Gov. Mike DeWine, Secretary of State Frank LaRose said it was no longer logistically possible to include district-specific legislative races on the ballots.
Ohio’s May 3 primary elections are in jeopardy after the state Supreme Court struck down state legislative maps for the third time.
The court ruled 4-3 late Wednesday night the maps unfairly favor Republicans, saying the Ohio Redistricting Commission has attempted three sets of maps without input from Democrats on any, instead using GOP staffers to draft each map.
The U.S. Census Bureau and the COVID-19 pandemic have created a constitutional issue for Ohio, and a possible change has members of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus concerned the public will be excluded.
Senate President Matt Huffman, R-Lima, proposed asking voters to approve a constitutional amendment that gives the state options with critical Census Bureau information not expected until September and Ohio facing a constitutional deadline of Sept. 30 to redraw state House, state Senate and congressional district maps.
That has Black Caucus leaders worried public input could be reduced or eliminated.
Approximately 150 people gathered outside the State Capitol in Columbus Monday to tell Gov. Mike DeWIne and Health Department Director Amy Action that it’s past time to reopen the state.
Tom Zawistowski, president of Ohio Tea Party group We the People Convention, estimated the attendance, in an interview with The Ohio Star. This was the second such protest since last Thursday.
Many of the protestors called out, “You’re getting a paycheck, we’re not,” Zawistowski said.
State Sen. Matt Huffman (R-OH-12) is calling for the reopening of business activity in West Central Ohio, telling Gov. Mike DeWine that it makes sense from “population density.”