Current Updates for Week of 3/20/22
There’s a lot going on with redistricting this week and it is only Tuesday.
Please attend Wednesday’s hearing in person if you possibly can so the Commissioners know that Ohio is watching and still cares about Fair Maps! In-person meetings are being held in Room 313 at the Ohio Statehouse.
Tell your Ohio legislators not to waste $25 million on a second primary! Tell them to hold a single primary at a later date.
Write a letter to the editor (see suggestions below)
Log your call to your legislators
Ohio Redistricting Commission schedule this week, with virtual meetings if possible:
5 p.m. Wednesday (in person)
7 p.m. Thursday (in person & virtual – details to come)
2 p.m. Friday (in person & virtual – details to come)
4 p.m. Saturday (in person)
4 p.m. Sunday (in person)
10 a.m. Monday (in person)
Three Notes about Attending Redistricting Commission Meetings
Please attend in person if possible, in room 313 at the Ohio Statehouse! Wear Fair Districts t-shirts and buttons if you have them. Some buttons will be available at the hearings.
Attend virtual hearings through the official channel. As soon as we know that info, we will pass it along. Again, it’s important for them to know we are watching.
If you are attending our Zoom watch parties, we are using the same link each time. (Register here.) After each meeting you will receive a “reschedule” notice from Zoom that moves the event forward to the next meeting time.
Today’s Ohio Redistricting Commission hearing
The Ohio Redistricting Commission met Tuesday morning, 3/22, to discuss how to proceed with the redrawing of the state legislative maps. They agreed on a schedule for the week’s meetings (below) and agreed to use the mediation services of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. The independent mappers (more about them below) accepted by the Commission are due to arrive in Ohio tomorrow and will be present at tomorrow’s meeting.
General Assembly Map Updates:
The third set of Ohio House and Senate maps were struck down by the Ohio Supreme Court 3/16/22. Read about the Ohio Supreme Court decision in this Common Cause Ohio Blog Post. The Court instructed the Commission to use an independent map drawer and work in public. The Commission has until 3/28 to complete a new set of state legislative maps. The hearings this week are an attempt to comply with the Court’s order.
Congressional Map Update:
On Friday, 3/18, the Ohio Supreme Court issued a decision denying the petitioner’s attempt to invalidate the second congressional redistricting plan as procedurally improper. The Court explained that after the first congressional map was struck down, it did not retain jurisdiction over the map-drawing process. Therefore, an entirely new and separate complaint would have to be submitted against the second map. On Monday evening, National Redistricting Action Fund filed a new lawsuit challenging the second congressional map. The respondents have until 4pm Tuesday, 3/22 to file a response. The fact that this lawsuit has been filed brings into question whether the congressional races can be included in a May 3 primary.
Federal Lawsuit Update and Links:
On Friday, 3/18/22, a panel of three judges was appointed to proceed with the federal case that was originally filed 2/18 looking into the process of how the General Assembly maps are being drawn. No hearing date has yet been set.
Ohio’s Primary Election:
After the Ohio Supreme Court struck down the 3rd set of legislative maps, Secretary of State Frank LaRose conceded that it was no longer possible to hold one unified primary on May 3. However, neither the General Assembly nor the Court has agreed to move the primary back in order avoid a split primary. At the moment, LaRose is proceeding on the assumption that there will be two primaries:
One on May 3 with Statewide, congressional and local races
One at an as-of-yet-undetermined date with Ohio House and Senate races
This is wasteful, confusing, and unnecessary. We are strongly against it! That is why we are asking you to ask your legislators to move the primary back! The only reason they don’t want to move the primary is so they can force the use of a bad congressional map and blame the court for the chaos, expense, and harm that they have caused by repeatedly drawing unconstitutional maps.
LaRose’s Letter to Legislative Leaders
Meanwhile, Leader Russo and Senator Sykes appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court to push the primary back to June 28 or later. The Court has given the Commission until Weds, 3/23, at 9am to respond.
More about the Independent Mappers
Common Cause wrote about what we should look for in an independent mapper, HERE. Republicans on the Commission chose Douglas Johnson, and Democrats chose Michael McDonald. Here’s a Tweet from Common Cause’s Suzanne Almeida raising some potential red flags about Doug Johnson.
Suggested short LTEs about the Primary: (Feel free to adapt and put in your own words)
A second primary for Ohio is wasteful, confusing, and completely unnecessary. Surely the Ohio General Assembly can think of more productive ways to spend $25 million of Ohio taxpayer’s money! Draw fair maps, then hold one primary. Ohio voters deserve no less.
What a ridiculous way to waste $25 million Ohio taxpayer dollars! Holding two primaries will do nothing but confuse Ohio voters and undermine faith in our elections. Have some basic common sense. First draw fair maps, then hold a single primary when Boards of Elections, candidates and voters have had a chance to figure out the new districts.
Why are legislative leaders insisting on holding two primaries? Are they happy to flush away $25 million taxpayer dollars? Do they relish the fact that this will be monumentally confusing to Ohio voters? The downside to pushing the primary back is minuscule in comparison to the cost in $$ and confusion to having two primaries instead of one.
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