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Redistricting commission prepares for debate over new congressional district map

Daniel Konik
Statehouse News Bureau
House Speaker Bob Cupp (R-Lima) and Sen. Vernon Sykes (D-Akron), co-chairs of the Ohio Redistricting Commission, talking during a commission meeting on February 22, 2022.

Republican leaders on the Ohio Redistricting Commission say they are working on a new plan for congressional district lines in order to comply with the latest supreme court ruling.

The commission is expected to make a move on a new congressional district map this week after completing work, for now, on updated state legislative maps.

House Speaker Bob Cupp (R-Lima) said during a commission meeting Thursday that they could meet multiple times this week for public hearings and for possible proposals from legislative leaders.

"So we can get congressional districts done. Wrap that up -- at least our end of it -- very quickly," Cupp said.

The first attempt at a new congressional district map was found unconstitutional by the Ohio Supreme Court. By a 4-3 decision, the court said the map gave Republicans an advantage and did not reflect Ohio's voter preference in proportion to the 15 congressional districts.

That map, drawn through SB258, created 12 seats that either heavily favor or lean in favor of Republicans. That's 80% of the districts in a state that voted for former President Donald Trump with 53% of the vote in 2020.

Democratic leaders on the redistricting commission have introduced their own congressional district plan. That map creates eight Republican districts, six Democratic districts, and one competitive district that leans Democratic.

This is the first time the Ohio Redistricting Commission will adopt a congressional map. In November, the Ohio General Assembly passed SB258 which Gov. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) signed into law before the court invalidated the map.

Lawmakers extended the deadline to March 4 for congressional candidates to file their petitions to be on the primary ballot.

Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R-Ohio), a member of the redistricting commission, has urged the other commissioners to act quickly in order for the state to hold a primary on May 3.

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