Ohio Redistricting Panel Approves Work-In-Progress District Maps
COLUMBUS, Ohio — A divided Ohio Redistricting Commission approved maps for state legislative districts on Monday night despite the fact independent mapmakers hired to draw them had not yet finished their work.
The majority in the 4-3 vote explained their action by saying they were obligated by order of the Ohio Supreme Court to approve maps by midnight and sent their choices to the court and the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office.
The court has repeatedly rejected the maps as overly partisan, and last week floated the idea of using independent mapmakers to draw them rather than wind up, once again, with a map that overly favored Republican candidates.
The court also decreed that the new maps be drawn from scratch. As it is, the maps approved Monday are only slightly different from the maps rejected earlier this month.
The maps show a 54-45 Republican advantage in the House and an 18-15 advantage in the Senate. At the same time, 17 formerly Democratic House districts are now considered toss-ups, while seven Senate districts fall into the same category.
In addition to the pending deadline, lawmakers also fretted over the cost of the process.
According to published reporters, Dr. Michael McDonald and Dr. Douglas Johnson, the independent mapmakers hired to complete the project were being paid a rate of $450 per hour, with a cap at $49,000 each.
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