A federal court has now set the second primary for Ohio on August 2nd, 2022. This election will include state legislative candidates (State House and State Senate) as well as State Central Committee members. Between what the state has already provided for funds to county Boards of Elections and what will likely be needed for the second primary, the total price tag to Ohio taxpayers will be in the neighborhood of $30 Million. This is a complete waste of taxpayers dollars thanks to the republican party who calls itself the party of fiscal responsibility.
There has been a change in who the GOP players are now sitting on the Ohio Redistricting Commission. Ohio House Speaker Bob Cupp and Ohio Senate President Matt Huffman have resigned from the commission. They have been replaced by state Representative Jeff LaRe (R-Violet Twp) as commission co-chair and state Senator Rob McColley (R-Napoleon). Little else has changed.
A showdown is in the offing as the fight over Ohio’s state Senate and House district maps continues. To date, the Ohio Redistricting Commission’s maps have been rejected four times by the Ohio Supreme Court – all by 4 to 3 decisions with Chief Justice Maureen O’Conner siding with the three Democratic justices – due to being unconstitutional. The court has now set the next deadline for new maps to be submitted by Friday, May 6, 2022.
Once again – and for the fourth time, the Ohio Supreme Court has rejected the state House and Senate maps drawn by the Ohio Republicans. The fourth version were simply tweaks by the GOP mapmakers of maps previously rejected by the court. Thus, mapmakers are being sent back to the drawing board. The court has set a new deadline for new maps to be finished by 9:00am on Friday, May 6, 2022. And once again, the court’s decision was 4-3 with Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor siding with the three Democratic justices.
The continuing saga of Ohio’s redistricting. It is literally a mess. There are several updates including General Assembly maps, the Ohio Supreme Court Contempt of Court, the Federal Court hearing that is currently ongoing and the May 3rd Primary Election. The Ohio Republican Party has made a mockery out of the redistricting process from the start by having no intent of agreeing to any constitutional maps that a majority of Ohio voters overwhelmingly demanded twice. Speaker Bob Cupp – a former Ohio Supreme Court justice – has continually shown his contempt not only for the court and his former colleagues on the court, but also for Ohio voters.
Common Cause Ohio and Fair Districts have provided excellent explanations on the redistricting process and where Ohio is at – for the moment. It is very complicated, confusing and going to be very expensive by the time Ohioans have the opportunity to hold a primary. This is wasteful – potentially costing Ohioans up to $20 million, very confusing and unnecessary. This entire fiasco is due to the the GOP Redistricting Commission members repeatedly drawing unconstitutional maps and and the state legislators refusing to move the primary date.
Late tonight, the Ohio Supreme Court struck down the third set of state House and Senate maps late Wednesday, effectively ending any hope of a May 3rd primary with both legislative and statewide races. In addition, the court made a few suggestions on how the Ohio Redistricting Commission on how it could be more transparent during the next round of mapmaking and rebuked State Senate President Matt Huffman (R).
Ohio’s elections officials and the state’s Republican attorney general have implored the Ohio legislature to move the May 3 primary, saying delays in setting new state legislative and congressional lines have jeopardized an orderly, accurate election. But state lawmakers have balked, and for now, planning for the election is going full speed ahead. Why? Because of hardened opposition from General Assembly Republicans, particularly in the Ohio House.
Since the Ohio Redistricting Commission did not submit constitutional state House and state Senate maps by the February 17th deadline mandated by the Ohio Supreme Court, Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor (R) the following day – Friday, February 18th – issued an Order that each of the members of the Ohio Redistricting Commission show up in person in front of the court on Tuesday, March 1, 2022, to explain why each of the members should not be held in contempt of court for missing the court’s deadline.
‘Under state law, Ohio must redraw its state school board boundaries every decade after state legislative redistricting is completed since each school board district comprises of three state Senate districts. If the General Assembly doesn’t reapportion the districts – this year it did not – the law says the governor must choose new boundaries by January 31. DeWine released a letter January 31 that described the districts in writing, which fulfills the requirements in the law, but did not include a map.’ This is the other political gerrymandering that no one seems to be watching.