Ohio Redistricting Panel Resubmits Rejected Map to Court
COLUMBUS, Ohio — As a strategy, it probably falls into the category of “Maybe they won’t notice.”
On Thursday, the Ohio Redistricting Commission voted 4-2 to resubmit state legislative district maps to the Ohio Supreme Court that the court has already rejected twice, holding them to be an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander.
The extraordinary turn of events came a day ahead of the court-ordered deadline for submitting a new map for the state Supreme Court’s consideration.
It also came against the backdrop of a federal court threatening to intervene in the matter if the commission failed to meet that obligation.
The commission’s position was laid out by Secretary of State Frank LaRose, who explained that while new maps will be drawn for future elections, it’s likely too late to get a new map in place for use in the state legislative primary on Aug. 2.
Reading from a prepared statement, LaRose told the board the most recently rejected district maps have already been programmed in county boards of election systems across the state, and that he would have to instruct the boards to deprogram the map – known as Map 3 – before May 28.
At this point, LaRose told the commission, “Map 3 is the only viable option to effectively administer a primary election on Aug. 2, 2022.”
Democrats on the commission argued that significant, but possible changes to the most recent map rejected by the court could be the answer. But that solution was rejected by the Republicans on the board.
Jen Miller, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio, expressed disappointment at the latest chapter in the saga of Ohio redistricting, but said the group would continue to look at its legal options.
“Possibly this would only be a two-year map and we will work to get better maps in the future,” she told reporters. “But the redistricting commission can’t decide to adopt a two-year map.”