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Politics

Ohio Senate President Don't Expect New Congressional Map To Be Ready On Time

Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) gestures to a whiteboard while explaining his plan to ask voters to delay the deadlines for new maps. Those deadlines were put in place by constitutional amendments that also made changes in the map-drawing process and required more transparency and minority party buy-in. Huffman's plan was rejected and never went to the ballot.
Dan Konik
/
Ohio Public Radio
Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) gestures to a whiteboard while explaining his plan to ask voters to delay the deadlines for new maps. Those deadlines were put in place by constitutional amendments that also made changes in the map-drawing process and required more transparency and minority party buy-in. Huffman's plan was rejected and never went to the ballot.

State officials on the Ohio Redistricting Commission missed the September 1 deadline for maps for new Ohio House and Senate districts, and instead aimed to make a second deadline of September 15.

The next project will be redrawing the Congressional map, with one member of Ohio’s delegation losing their job. And the expectations are low to hit the deadline for that map too.

Ohio Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) said hitting the September 30 deadline for the Congressional map is unlikely because the constitutional change voters approved in 2018 requires more buy-in from Democratic state lawmakers to get the map approved.

Huffman noted that since state lawmakers will all vote on the Congressional map, not just seven people on the Ohio Redistricting Commission, "you have to draw a map that isn't just, in the case of what we're doing today, one person in my caucus voting for it, but many people. So there's a lot more of that kind of consideration who wants what."

But Huffman also said map creators haven’t even begun working on it.

“We'd be starting new tomorrow in the hopes that we could draw a map from two weeks that could get this high level. I think that's very impractical," Huffman said on Wednesday afternoon, before the Ohio Redistricting Commission agreed on the Statehouse maps later that night.

Huffman added that the delay in Census data forced lawmakers to focus all their attention on the Ohio House and Senate maps because of that earlier deadline.

But he said he thinks the new Congressional map, with at least two required hearings for public input, could be voted on by lawmakers by the end of November.

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