JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ohio — If the fifth time isn't the charm for the redistricted Ohio maps, federal judges have found a way to put an end to the back-and-forth.
Three federal judges set a deadline for a passed map for May 28 or else they will institute the third version of the maps.
While the Ohio Supreme Court ruled each of the four maps "unconstitutional,” federally, nothing has been decided, which is why the third map could come back into play if no map is decided upon.
“The federal court has the U.S. Constitution, which, of course, supersedes that,” Ohio Rep. Ron Ferguson said. “So, the federal court is not beholden to what the state court is beholden to. So, in their eyes, nothing is necessarily unconstitutional yet and they're trying to find the best remedy for all parties.”
But even with an end in sight, this redistricting process is having long-term effects for the state of Ohio.
The most obvious one - the additional $20 to $25 million it will cost the state to have a second primary election.
And local counties will see it hit to their pocketbooks.
“Here, locally, what we've heard is in Belmont County it would be over $100,000,” Ferguson said. “It would be about $100,000 in Jefferson County, and you're looking at about $35,000 in Monroe County, which are the three counties I represent.”
Ferguson is backing a bill that would take the cost off counties and make the Ohio Supreme Court foot the bill.
But aside from money, the second election raises another big question – turnout. Ferguson thinks it will be very detrimental to getting people out to the polls with an election in August.
“Everybody has the ability to come out and vote, but the reality is that not as many people will,” Ferguson said. “It's hard enough to run two elections and get people to consistently be there, and now we're talking about another one. It's in August. It's the first week of August, which is known as the No. 1 vacation week of the year. So, you can expect a low voter turnout.”