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Government/Politics

Ohio Gets Census Data To Draw Maps - But Lawmakers Still Need To Wait

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Karen Kasler, Statehouse News Bureau
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Vernon Sykes (D-Akron) stands with Matt Huffman (R-Lima) when they were both state representatives chairing the 2015 campaign for Statehouse redistricting. Sykes is now one of the two Democrats on the redistricting commission created by that ballot issue.

The data must be processed and verified, and that makes the short timeline to draw the maps even shorter.

The US Census Bureau has sent 2020 population data to states, so they can start putting together their maps for state and Congressional districts. Ohio is doing the redrawing of the maps under a new voter-approved process designed to make districts more fair and less gerrymandered.

But the timeline to create those new maps is short.

The redistricting commission must vote on maps for Ohio House and Senate districts by September 1. State lawmakers need to vote on a Congressional map that will have one less district by September 30.

Sen. Vernon Sykes (D-Akron) is on the redistricting commission. He said before the newly released Census data goes to lawmakers and the commission, it must go to experts at Ohio University.

“They still have to add our precinct information before we can actually use it for map drawing purposes. So it's going to take a while for us to get access to the actual data that we need to draw maps," Sykes said.

Groups including the League of Women Voters and the Fair Districts Coalition are urging that the process used by OU to prepare and verify the data be made public.

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