LaRose says House, Senate races must be removed from May primary ballot
Because there are no valid maps for state legislative districts, those races won't appear on the ballot unless a federal court gets involved almost immediately.
It’s the most direct directive yet from Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R-Ohio) — he’s ordered that Ohio House and Senate races won’t appear on the May 3 primary ballot, since there are no valid maps that show those districts.
This could mean a move or a split for the primary.
After the latest legislative maps approved by LaRose and other Republicans on the Ohio Redistricting Commission were struck down as unconstitutionally gerrymandered, LaRose raised concerns about the primary.
LaRose said last week that it was “no longer logistically possible” to include the legislative races on the May ballot unless a federal court intervened.
But LaRose said he had notified the federal court that the close of business Wednesday was the final deadline for those races, as well as for state central committee.
“We have to direct the boards to start removing state legislative races and state central committee races from the ballot so that they are ready on April 5 when voters start showing up," LaRose said.
LaRose said the problem is that there are hundreds and sometimes thousands of types of ballots, depending on local races, money questions and options. When ballots are changed, LaRose said they are reviewed by a bipartisan team. That makes it impossible to easily "delete" a race.
LaRose said if the federal court gets involved in the next few days, a supplemental second ballot could be used, but he says that can create confusion for voters.
Lawmakers still haven’t proposed moving the primary or splitting it into two events. It's estimated a second primary could cost at least $15 million.