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Ohio lawmakers adjust candidate filing requirements with district maps in limbo

Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) discusses changes to the primary filing requirements.
Andy Chow
Statehouse News Bureau
Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) discusses changes to the primary filing requirements.

The House and Senate approved a bill that gives potential candidates more flexibility while the Ohio Supreme Court deliberates on the newly redrawn maps.

The clock is ticking for those potential candidates to file their petitions to run for the Ohio House or Senate.

But with new objections raised in the Ohio Supreme Court over the new House and Senate maps, those district lines could change after the filing deadline.

To address the issue, the legislature approved a bipartisan bill to allow flexibility for those candidates to amend their petitions if they need new signatures after the initial February 2 deadline.

If a district is redrawn but still includes a portion of a county in the original boundaries, then candidates can keep signatories on their petition who reside in that county even if they no longer live in that district.

Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) says it's still possible the legislature might push that deadline.

"We hope it doesn't come to that, we hope we can make the petition process expansive enough that people can fairly file for these, you know, in the next several days," says Huffman.

But House Speaker Bob Cupp (R-Lima) said there’s no backup plan beyond this bill if the maps are struck down.

The plaintiffs who filed objections against the new maps say Republicans gerrymandered the districts to benefit the GOP. Those opponents are asking the court to move the filing deadline.

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