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New Ohio Redistricting Panel Won't Stop Group Behind Ballot Issue

Ohio Congressional Map for 113th Congress
U.S. Geological Survey
Ohio Congressional Map for 113th Congress

State legislative leaders have formed a four-member bipartisan group to work on creating a new way to redraw Ohio’s Congressional district map, which will be redone after the 2020 census. But supporters of an effort already underway to change the map drawing process aren’t backing down.

Lawmakers have been considering Congressional redistricting for years, but the goal of this four-member group is a plan to present to voters in May. Senate minority leader Kenny Yuko, of Richmond Heights, says Democrats will join the plan but wonders what the rush is.

"We've had an awful lot of time to work on this," Yuko says. "And all of a sudden, right now we're getting down to counting days on the calendar and saying this is really going to be a tight schedule we're dealing with."

Yuko says he doesn't want the lawmaker's group to undermine other, non-partisan groups that are working on that issue.

Catherine Turcer with Common Cause Ohio says 142,000 signatures have already been gathered by for their 2018 proposed ballot issue.

“We will not get derailed by the legislative effort just because it’s hard to believe it will actually come to fruition," Turcer says.

Republicans say they're not racing them to the ballot, but note that previous redistricting plans from citizens' groups have failed. Their legislative plan will likely keep the Congressional map drawing process with state lawmakers.

The nonpartisan groups’ plan transfers that authority to the bipartisan commission that voters approved in 2015 to draw new maps for state lawmakers’ districts – a proposal that was created by lawmakers and endorsed by the nonpartisan groups.