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Redistricting Commission holds only hearing on Congressional map

Written on Oct 29, 2021

The Ohio Redistricting Commission on Oct. 28 held its only hearing on a new congressional map before passing the task of drawing that map back to the General Assembly.

The commission’s Oct. 31 deadline – which will be missed – comes after it passed General Assembly maps in September. In court depositions as a part of lawsuits challenging those maps, the constitutional statewide officeholders on the commission expressed frustration that they were left out of drawing the maps in that process as well.

The General Assembly will have until Nov. 30 to approve a full plan and may do so on a simple majority vote, though that would last only for four years. In order to pass a 10-year map, it would need a vote of 60% of all members and 33% of Democrats.

The co-chairs of the Ohio Redistricting Commission – House Speaker Bob Cupp, R-Lima, and Sen. Vern Sykes, D-Akron – said they thought this week’s meeting was productive nevertheless. Sykes said the groups that presented maps have done detailed analyses on the process that lawmakers will find useful.

Sykes said that while commission members are disappointed they could not get a map in the commission by November, they still have another chance in the Legislature to get it done. He said there is enough time to do that, but they need to start right away.

After the hearing, Cupp said maps cannot be produced quickly because lawmakers must consider the requirements of the Ohio Constitution, the U.S. Constitution, federal court decisions, the Voting Rights Act, and other issues.

"It is a time consuming, technical, complicated process," he said. Still, he echoed Sykes that the Legislature can come up with a bipartisan, 10-year map in time.

A major impediment to the ability of policymakers to complete the maps on time was a significant delay in receiving population data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Pre-pandemic, that data would have been provided several months earlier, permitting those charged with map drawing to have adequate time to meet key deadlines. 

Provided by Hannah News Service