Ohio Supreme Court Denies Bid to Postpone May 3 Primary

March 25, 2022 by Dan McCue
Ohio Supreme Court Denies Bid to Postpone May 3 Primary
Mapmakers in Ohio work on new district maps. (Ohio Government television)

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio Redistricting Commission will have to get on with its work and finish replacements of previously rejected district maps in time for their use in the state’s May 3 primary, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled on Thursday.

The court’s decision came in response to a motion filed by two Democratic state lawmakers, House Minority Leader Allison Russo and state Sen. Vernon Sykes, who both happen to sit on the redistricting panel.

They argued that nudging the primary date a little further back, the commission would be able to finish its mapping work without having to worry about filings dates, early voting and absentee ballot deadlines or the primary itself.

They also contended that it was within the Supreme Court’s discretion, or as they put it, its “inherent authority” to make the change despite state laws that say it is up to the General Assembly to change election dates and times.

The Ohio Supreme Court disagreed, with Justice Pat Fischer, a Republican, reasserting that the General Assembly is the only body with the authority to move an election and “ease the pressure that the commission’s failure to adopt a constitutional redistricting plan has placed on the secretary of state and on court boards of elections by moving the primary election, should that action become necessary.”

So far the legislature has shown interest in doing so.

In the meantime, the Ohio Redistricting Commission is continuing its effort to revise legislative maps for the fourth time, and they’ve been given a Monday deadline for getting it done.

On a related note: On Tuesday, Ohio state government television launched a redistricting live stream so that anyone can watch the mapmaking consultants at work. The stream can be seen at OhioChannel.org.

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue.

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