COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The primary is fast approaching, and Ohio is still going through the redistricting process.
No districts are set for the legislative or congressional maps, which dictate who represents Ohioans at a state and national level.
NBC 4 reached out to Secretary of State Frank LaRose about where the May 3 primary stands when it comes to preparation. His office declined an interview Wednesday.
There are important dates before then that will impact the election, and while May 3 may be primary election day, there are other deadlines ahead of that for voters across the state.
“Of course, it is right to be concerned about whether or how we’re preparing for a successful election this spring,” said Katy Shanahan with All on the Line, a national, Democrat-backed group working to end gerrymandering.
Shanahan said if there are no official legislative and congressional maps, that could push deadlines.
Military and overseas voting starts March 18 in Ohio, and early in-person and absentee voting starts April 5.
“Boards of election have to make sure their vendors can still work for them and print ballots when we need them to,” Shanahan said. “When timelines shift, there’s a lot of sort of underlying work that gets done on the election that’s sort of sight unseen for most folks, but all of that is starting to be a bigger and bigger concern.”
Congressional map redistricting meetings were canceled at the Ohio House Tuesday.
“The question here is not can it be done; it most certainly can be done. It’s is there a will to get it done and get it done quickly and I believe that we can,” said House Minority Leader Allison Russo, who sits on the state’s redistricting commission.
House Speaker Bob Cupp commented also on Tuesday on the legislative maps that were struck down by the Ohio Supreme Court.
“We’re still trying to work out, work through the opinion to see what the appropriate course of action is,” he said. “This is a lot more complicated than getting your Etch-A-Sketch out and drawing squares or blocks in the state of Ohio.”
Shanahan said time is of the essence.
“There’s no other option — the commission now has until Feb. 17 to adopt a second redrawn set of legislative maps, so we have eight days left in that window,” she said.
Again, the redistricting commission is tasked with the Ohio Senate and House of Representatives maps and may face drawing the U.S. Congressional maps if the general assembly can’t reach an agreement.