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Questions Raised About When Ohio Legislators' Maps Will Be Ready For Vote

Bob Cupp Vernon Sykes closeup redistricting gaggle
Andy Chow
Statehouse News Bureau
House Speaker Bob Cupp (R-Lima) and Sen. Vernon Sykes (D-Akron), both co-chairs of the Ohio Redistricting Commission, discuss the next steps for the commission.

Members of the Ohio Redistricting Commission are at odds over the mapmaking process as they prepare to miss a deadline to accept a proposal by September 1.

Republican and Democratic lawmakers say their caucus staff are each drawing up their own versions of state legislative maps.

The Senate Democrats unveiled theirs, but no maps from majority Republicans.

House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes' (D-Akron) question on when exactly a map would be adopted went unanswered.

"I appreciate all of the commentary and the lectures and the responsibility. I think we all understand our task at hand. But the reality is there is no map," says Sykes.

Sykes and a few Republicans on the commission went back-and-forth over the process of making a map that would go on to be proposed to the commission. When Cupp said the House Republican caucus was "carefully" working on a map to be proposed soon, Sykes said she was not invited into that process. However, Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) noted that the Senate Democrats did the same thing by making a map without Republican involvement.

House Speaker Bob Cupp says the commission will adopt one of the proposals presented to the panel then members will have the ability to amend whatever map they choose to work off of after holding public hearings.

The makeup of this year's redistricting commission means two Democrats would need to vote in favor of the final map proposals in order for them to go into effect for 10 years. The commission can pass a four-year map without support from the minority caucus.

Cupp says it's still his hope to pass a 10-year map.

This year's Ohio Redistricting Commission is intended to follow constitutional reforms passed by voters in 2015 and 2018 that change the way district lines are drawn. The purpose of the reforms are to avoid gerrymandering, when districts are drawn to favor one party over another.

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