COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Ohio now has a congressional map, laying out the districts and boundaries that will make up seats for US Congress.
The approval was just in time as the deadline for Ohio candidates to file for a district race in the U.S. House of Representatives is in just two days.
A Republican amended map passed with a 5-2 vote on Wednesday afternoon. The approved district map has ten Republican-leaning districts, three Democratic-leaning districts, and two toss-ups per data provided.
This was the first time the Ohio Redistricting Commission was tasked with drawing the Congressional map. It was originally the duty of the General Assembly, but legislators say they ran out of time to produce one.
It was not a bipartisan decision to adopt this new congressional map. Like many of the other maps brought before the Ohio Redistricting Commission, it was split along party lines.
“We spent an enormous amount of time yesterday afternoon and evening meeting, having discussions with the commissioners to talk through this to get some of their feedback,” said House Minority Leader Allison Russo.
Russo presented an amended version of the Republican map and urged commissioners to continue to work to compromise.
Speaker Bob Cupp says Republicans reviewed the proposal. “You make one change it ripples through the whole thing and so many members of the commission are not able to get together plus we have Friday’s filing deadline,” said Cupp.
As for the primary on May 3, Secretary of State Frank LaRose says boards of elections are being directed to move forward with the most recently passed maps: The new congressional map and the general assembly maps passed last Thursday.
“Long as they get their programming done, as long as they get their ballots proofed and printed and that kind of thing and as long as there aren’t successful court challenges then these maps — these races can be on the May 3rd ballot,” said LaRose.
Voter advocates say this process has been frustrating and believe more work can be done.
“We’re getting close but the fact that the commissioners will not work across the aisle means we’re still getting maps that are gerrymandered and really don’t fairly represent the people of Ohio,” said Jen Miller, the director of the League of Women Voters Ohio.
After the meeting, Miller was asked if there was a plan to file an objection as the map could be challenged in the Ohio Supreme Court.