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Democratic Leaders Want Redistricting Extension Through Ohio Supreme Court

Emilia Sykes
Andy Chow
Ohio Public Radio
Ohio House Democratic Leader Emilia Sykes (D-Akron).

Democratic lawmakers are calling on Ohio to go to the Ohio Supreme Court in order to extend deadlines to create new legislative maps. This counters a Republican proposal to call on a statewide August election to vote on a constitutional amendment that would extend the state legislative redistricting deadline.

U.S. Census Bureau data has been delayed, which hinders Ohio's plans for drawing new state legislative and Congressional district maps. 

State lawmakers and the Redistricting Commission have certain deadlines to meet in order to draw new maps, and House Democratic Leader Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) believes asking the Ohio Supreme Court to extend those deadlines is the best option.  

"It's much simpler, it's quicker, and it keeps the spirit of the reform that voters passed intact," Sykes said. 

Democrats are worried about what they say could be consequences in Senate President Matt Huffman's (R-Lima) plan to ask voters to approve a deadline extension in a statewide election in August. That plan would only extend the process for redrawing state legislative districts.

The census data is expected to be released in mid-August while the state legislative maps are required for a first round of approval by September 1.

"Time's clicking. We had a pandemic, yes. It delayed the census data, yes. But the fact remains that we still have time to get this done and get it done successfully," said Sen. Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights), Senate Democratic Leader.

Funding has been released for the redistricting commission to begin work on drawing up potential maps. Sykes and Yuko said this allows them to get new computers, software and consultants.

Huffman said he wouldn't go forward with the constitutional amendment plan without Democratic support.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.