COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – The Ohio Redistricting Commission has roughly three days to adopt General Assembly maps that will determine who represents Ohioans in the statehouse.
But as of Monday, many are wondering when that work will get done.
The commission is court-ordered to put forth maps by the Feb. 17 deadline.
Several requests for when meetings might be scheduled made to House Republicans haven’t been returned. Democrats have said previously they’re ready to go.
Voter advocacy groups said the redistricting coming down to the wire once again is frustrating.
“It’s very distressing, you know, when you essentially hire someone to do a job and they refuse to do it, it’s not a good feeling,” said Mia Lewis, associate director of Common Cause Ohio.
Lewis said this is not what voters asked for when it comes to drawing legislative maps.
The maps will dictate who represents who in the State assembly.
“Transparency means drawing the maps where people can see you drawing them, bi-partisanship means discussing the maps together,” she said.
This is the third chance the Redistricting Commission has had to produce maps. The first two attempts, pushed through by partisan vote by the Republican-led commission, were both ruled unconstitutional by the Ohio Supreme Court.
“Some of the exact commissioners were part of the negotiation process to develop these reforms in 2015 and 2018, so the fact that they’re not respecting Ohio voters, or the Ohio Constitution is really frustrating,” said Jen Miller with the League of Women Voters Ohio, one of the organizations that filed an objection to the previous maps.
“We’re going to do everything we can to bring fair maps to the people of Ohio and so I’m sorry to be vague, but we’re just really going to have to see what they do to decide what our next steps are,” she said.
Both Miller and Lewis are hopeful, saying the job can be done.
“They put forward unconstitutional maps twice,” said Lewis. “Now they have a third chance; let’s hope they do a better job.”
A spokesperson for Gov. Mike DeWine, who is a member of the commission, sent the following statement:
“Governor DeWine believes that he and those involved in redistricting must do all they can to follow the constitution and the recent court decision. His staff has continuously worked on these issues since the decision. Governor DeWine believes the Ohio Redistricting Commission should meet publicly and engage in conversation on these issues. The Governor is prepared to meet as soon as tomorrow if a meeting is properly called and noticed.
“The Governor believes that the Commission must attempt to comply with the Ohio Constitution and most recent court order regarding a new map. However, Governor DeWine believes significant roadblocks remain to achieving a consensus map. The Commission has yet to see a map that is both proportional and constitutional. Recent proposals do not greatly differ from previous maps that had constitutional issues. The biggest hurdle remains that Ohio’s political geography does not match the proportionality of recent statewide votes. That being said, the Governor believes the Commission should attempt to comply with the recent order.”Gov. Mike DeWine’s office