COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — When it comes to drafting another set of legislative maps, the Ohio Redistricting Commission is making several new changes in its process.
The Ohio Redistricting Commission is bringing in mediators for the very first time in an attempt to create the districts for representation in the upcoming elections for state house and senate.
The commission unanimously approved bringing in two mediators from the United States Court of Appeals for the 6th circuit.
Their role will be as a neutral party and to help resolve any conflicts with the seven commissioners.
Cathy Geyer and Scott Coburn will be on “loan” from the court and won’t cost the commission a dime as the commission works on its fourth set of maps in the past six to seven months.
The mediators have years of experience, and this will be their first-time mediating redistricting.
“What we’ve done before hasn’t worked so doing something different makes sense and having a mediator is a way that civil suits get resolved all the time. There’s a process.” said Governor Mike DeWine.
Representative Allison Russo (D) of Upper Arlington said, “At the end of the day, commission members are the ones making the decisions about this and having a neutral party to work out where the conflict is extremely important, so I think that is the most critical and important piece of this new process.”
Outside of new mediators, two independent mapmakers were approved to join the map drawing process.
“I think at the end of the day the important thing is that they’re coming in, they’re working together, they’re working in public all commissioners have access to them and that in and of itself is a huge improvement in the process,” said Russo.
The new mediators and mapmakers are expected to arrive Wednesday.
“I don’t think anybody knows if we’re going to be successful in this.” said DeWine. “We’re certainly going to try to be successful we’re doing something different that we’ve not done in the past and by doing that we’re certainly moving forward.”
The court deadline for the commission to adopt maps is March 28.