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With Ohio's legislative primary set, lawmakers working on how to pay for it

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Jo Ingles
/
Statehouse News Bureau

A federal court ruling on Friday sets up an August 2 primary for Ohio House and Senate districts, using maps that were ruled unconstitutionally gerrymandered in March. Now lawmakers are deciding how to pay the estimated $20 million cost of that vote.

Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) said the $20 million for the primary won’t be coming from federal COVID dollars, as he had suggested a few weeks ago.

“No, I don't think so. Part of the problem with all of the federal funds are not just that they're restricted, but understanding what the restrictions are. And sometimes you can't get guidance from the government," Huffman said. "So these are going to be GRF [general revenue fund] funds."

Huffman had said he thought COVID dollars could be used because census data to draw the maps was delayed because of the pandemic.

The first maps were approved by Republicans on the Ohio Redistricting Commission in September. Those and four subsequent Republican-approved maps were all ruled unconstitutional by the Ohio Supreme Court.

Huffman said a bill that will include the funding for the primary should pass the Senate this week.

A directive from Secretary of State Frank LaRose, one of the four Republicans who have voted for all the unconstitutional maps, went out to boards of elections on Saturday. It says they must program their voter registration and central tabulation systems with the court-ordered maps data by June 7.

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