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Federal court looking into Ohio redistricting saga

Published By WTOV 9 Fox on April 18, 2022
Ron Ferguson In The News

A fourth time was not a charm for the Ohio Redistricting Commission as the state Supreme Court rejected another set of the maps deeming them unconstitutional.

The Ohio Supreme Court is asking for new maps to be created and filed to the Ohio Secretary of State by 9 a.m. May 6.

However, between now and then, the federal court is planning to get involved.

Wednesday, the federal court will convene and examine the situation in Ohio.

"If they do choose to take action, they can do a lot of things,” Rep. Ron Ferguson said. “They can institute exactly what date to have a primary. They can tell us what maps to use, either maps that have already been struck down or ones that've never been voted or even ones they create themselves."

Or the federal court could choose to do nothing, leaving it to the Supreme Court and redistricting commission to figure out.

The court's involvement is a part of a federal lawsuit, which asked the feds to examine the third maps. But since the fourth ones have been rejected since, their action could vary.

"We are guessing the argument will be use the 2011 maps,” Ferguson said. “The current maps that we currently have from 10 years ago, use them for one more cycle."

That cycle would be set for just the next two years allowing the second primary to take place this summer and buy the redistricting commission and Supreme Court more time to finalize the new maps.

The federal court's reason for jumping in could become a slippery slope, according to Ferguson.

"You don't want to institute maps that the supreme court has struck down, because that would really be interfering with that check and balance of government that branch of government, you also don't want to institute a map that has never been passed by the redistricting commission because now you're stepping on the toes of the legislative and executive branch that make up the redistricting commission."

Ferguson said a rough date agreed upon for a second primary is Aug. 2, but nothing is official and courts could change anything.

"Since we have a May 3 primary, the Secretary of State's office has to have enough time for that election to close to set up for another election,” Ferguson said. “And then you also need enough time after that special primary to shut that down and set up for the next election which is in November."

As for the federal government's action on Thursday, Ferguson is expecting minimal involvement.

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