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Early voting for May primary starts Tuesday, without Ohio House and Senate districts on the ballot

Karen Kasler
Statehouse News Bureau
A sign directs voters to their polling location at a church in northeast Columbus

There's still no word on when Ohioans will vote for those legislative candidates, but elections officials say it's almost impossible for it to be on May 3.

Preparations at Ohio’s 88 county boards of elections are going on ahead of early voting that’s set to begin Tuesday, though it’s unclear when voters will decide on House and Senate candidates.

While statewide races are on that ballot, those candidates aren’t because there are no constitutional maps for those legislative districts.

A panel of three federal judges who were asked to intervene in Ohio's redistricting saga declined to order a set of legislative maps be implemented or to make any changes to the elections calendar.

They said they'll wait until April 20, when the Ohio Supreme Court may have a decision on the latest set of legislative maps. That's the last possible date for those maps if the primary was to be moved to August 2, which is the latest date possible for a primary. A vote after that would interfere with timelines for the November 8, 2022 general election.

One possible date that came up before three federal judges who were deciding whether they would intervene in the redistricting saga was May 24.

But some boards of elections might have a problem with that.

“The May 24 date in particular, would only work if it is one unified primary with all contests appearing on it," said Aaron Ockerman, executive director of the Ohio Association of Elections Officials.

"I've had some counties tell me this morning, 'hey, if the legislature came back in emergency session today and they said, do one primary on May 24th, we can make it happen.' Other boards have said we're just too far down the planning process. We just have to move forward with May 3rd and then figure out figure out something else," Ockerman said.

Republican state lawmakers have not proposed any legislation to move or split the primary. A pair of Senate Democrats have proposed moving it to June 28, a date also suggested by Democrats on the Ohio Redistricting Commission.

Contact Karen at 614-578-6375 or at
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