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Signature gathering for group backing Ohio citizens redistricting panel delayed by typo

Different drafts of Ohio congressional district maps from the Ohio Redistricting Commission.
Andy Chow
/
Statehouse News Bureau
Different drafts of Ohio congressional district maps from the Ohio Redistricting Commission.

It’s back to the drawing board again for the group trying to change the process of drawing Ohio congressional and state legislative district maps through a ballot issue next year. And it’s all because of a typo.

The amendment from the group Citizens Not Politicians would create a 15- member commission of Republicans, Democrats and independents to draw the congressional and legislative maps that are now approved by the Republican-dominated Ohio Redistricting Commission. Current and former politicians would be banned from serving on the panel.

Citizens Not Politicians includes Republican former Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor, who joined the court's three Democrats in ruling all the maps put forward by the Ohio Redistricting Commission in 2021 and 2022 were unconstitutionally gerrymandered.

But a date that's specified in the amendment is listed incorrectly on the language on petitions that Republican Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost approved for the group. The amendment said the citizens commission must adopt new legislative maps by Sept. 19, 2025. But the language on the petitions said the deadline would be Sept. 15, 2025.

The attorney general's office rejected the group's language twice before approving the wording on the third attempt earlier this month.

Chris Davey with Citizens Not Politicians said in a statement they notified the attorney general's office in a letter and will submit new language soon.

“This minor setback will slightly delay the start of signature gathering but changes nothing about the substance of the amendment, our resolve to end gerrymandering in Ohio, or our ability to get it done,” said Davey in a statement.

But that delay sets the start of the signature-gathering campaign after election day, which is often used by groups trying to get to registered voters. Citizens Not Politicians must get more than 413,00 valid signatures by July to make the November 2024 ballot.

Contact Karen at 614-578-6375 or at kkasler@statehousenews.org.