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Politics

Ohio Redistricting Panel To Miss Redrawing Deadline

Ohio House Democratic Leader Emilia Sykes, Senate President Matt Huffman, House Speaker Bob Cupp, both Republicans, and Democratic state Sen. Vernon Sykes speak to Auditor Keith Faber at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio, ahead of the first meeting Friday, Aug. 6, 2021, of the Ohio Redistricting Commission on which they all sit.
Julie Carr Smyth
/
AP
Ohio House Democratic Leader Emilia Sykes, Senate President Matt Huffman, House Speaker Bob Cupp, both Republicans, and Democratic state Sen. Vernon Sykes speak to Auditor Keith Faber at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio, ahead of the first meeting Friday, Aug. 6, 2021, of the Ohio Redistricting Commission on which they all sit.

The panel charged with redrawing Ohio’s state legislative districts for the next 10 years will miss its Sept. 1 deadline.

That means an automatic extension until Sept. 15. Senate Democrats submitted the first map proposal Tuesday, but Republicans indicated GOP versions of the newly drawn maps are still in the works.

After a series of 10 meetings for public input last week, the panel of elected officials that’s drawing the maps for new districts for Ohio’s state lawmakers will hold a meeting on Wednesday to take some action.

Wednesday is the due date for a vote on that map, and it will be almost impossible to hit that target.

Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose is on the Ohio Redistricting Commission and said he hasn’t seen any draft maps, though Democrats have raised concerns about how majority Republicans will create them.

The constitution amendment approved by voters in 2015 requires the legislative maps to be proposed and for three public hearings to be held by September 1. But LaRose said flexibility is needed because the Census data didn’t come in till this month.

“No, there’s no penalty for not making the September 1 deadline, but it is the public expectation that this will be concluded by September 15, and that’s the real final deadline that exists for the completion of this process," LaRose said.

Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron), the top-ranking House Democrat and a commission, member, expressed frustration that Ohio House Speaker Bob Cupp (R-Lima) was unable to say when the commission would have a map to make public.

A 2018 amendment says the Congressional map, which will go from 16 districts to 15, must be approved and have two public hearings before a vote on September 30.

State lawmakers who draw that map have made no announcements about that process.
The Associated Press' Andrew Welsh-Huggins contributed to this story.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.