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Redistricting commission resubmits third map ahead of deadline

Written on May 6, 2022

Provided by Hannah News Service 

By a 4-3 vote, the Ohio Redistricting Commission Thursday resubmitted the third legislative map that had previously been submitted on Feb. 24 to be used only in the 2022 elections. Auditor Keith Faber joined Co-Chair Sen. Vernon Sykes (D-Akron) and Rep. Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) in voting against it. 

Before the vote, Secretary of State Frank LaRose said this was the “only viable option” to effectively hold the second primary election on Aug. 2, which his office and the bipartisan Ohio Association of Election Officials consider the only eligible date. The last date in which a new map could have been ordered and implemented without altering current statutory deadlines was April 20, and he had been told that there are not enough votes in the House or Senate to pass emergency legislation delaying the primary. 

Following LaRose’s comments, Sykes requested a recess to consult with the commission’s attorney on whether the third map was constitutional and if they were subjecting members to an increased potential risk of contempt. His motion failed by a party-line vote. 

As part of his vote against resubmitting the map, Faber said he again believed it was unconstitutional in how it drew districts in favor of Democrats. Russo said that she was voting no “consistent with a previous Supreme Court order and ruling that has already indicated that this map is not constitutional.” 

Russo had sought to accept a new map developed by University of Stanford Professor Jonathan Rodden as a modification to the one made by the independent map-makers. Sen. Robert McColley (R-Napoleon) raised concerns, saying Rodden was a “paid expert” of the petitioners and “Eric Holder-aligned groups.” 

Russo argued in turn that the Rodden map represented a constitutional map that could satisfy the court deadline of 9 a.m. Friday and had been available since early April. In addition to McColley’s objection, Faber also said it was inappropriate to vote on a map that had been completed by the petitioner’s lawyers. 

The motion on accepting that map failed by a party-line vote.