COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — With less than 24 hours left to spare before its court-ordered deadline, the Ohio Redistricting Commission approved a set of state legislative maps that had already been rejected by the Ohio Supreme Court.
In a 4-3 vote Thursday evening, the seven-member redistricting commission approved a proposal to resubmit its third set of maps outlining Ohio’s state legislative districts. The maps, previously submitted on Feb. 24, were struck down as unconstitutional by the Ohio Supreme Court in March.
Republican Auditor Keith Faber joined the two Democratic members of the commission in voting against the proposed maps.
The commission rejected a proposal by Rep. Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) to submit the set of maps drawn by independent mapmakers, who were previously brought in to assist the commission in its process.
Thursday’s meeting was the second time the commission convened since the Ohio Supreme Court ordered the members on April 14 to submit a new proposal by 9 a.m. on Friday, May 6.
The proposed maps, if approved by the court, would give Republicans a 54-45 district advantage in the House and 18-15 district advantage in the Senate. Opponents argued the GOP districts would both be competitive in elections, while 19 House and seven Senate districts for the Democrats are competitive — which opponents said could give Republicans a supermajority in the Ohio General Assembly.
Should the commission’s proposal receive the court’s blessing, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose would be free to start plans for the second primary election, which lawmakers have said will take place no later than Aug. 2.
However, should the court stick with its previous ruling and deem the proposal unconstitutional, a three-judge federal court hesitantly presented a solution.
In a late March ruling, the federal court set a deadline of May 28 for Ohio to have a constitutional redistricting plan in place, or the third set of maps — which the commission approved Thursday — would be put in place.