COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKBN/WCMH) – Ohio’s Redistricting Commission is falling behind when it comes to deadlines, and members said they are committed to a bipartisan, transparent process.
September 1 is the commission’s first deadline, and members have acknowledged they won’t be voting on a map by then. So far, the commission has held 10 public hearings around the state, and the first map was not proposed until Tuesday during the commission meeting. Members met to review the rules of the process and Senate Democrats submitted their maps.
“That’s why we introduced the map, we’re trying to edge them on a little bit,” said Sen. Vernon Sykes, (D) Akron.
The Ohio House map breaks the Mahoning Valley into five districts: two in Trumbull County, two in Mahoning County and one for Columbiana and Jefferson counties.
The Ohio Senate map has all of Mahoning County and a section of Trumbull County (Niles, Girard and Hubbard) in one district. The rest of Trumbull County would be in with portions of Portage, Geauga and Ashtabula counties in another. Columbiana County would then be in its own district with seven other counties.
The Republicans have not yet finished their maps.
Lawmakers said the delays are due to COVID-19, which postponed the census results. They are now working on having a map to hold public hearings and a vote on by September 15.
“It is hard, I think sometimes it’s oversimplified in the public eye, why don’t you guys sit down with your Ohio road map and pencils and get this done?” asked Secretary of State Frank LaRose, (R) Ohio.
Once a map is proposed, the commission will hold three public hearings from around the state. Members of the commission said they will be listening.
“Seeing where it can be done better or where there may be a constitutional violation and suggesting those kinds of changes and I think they’re very significant,” said House Speaker Bob Cupp, (R) Lima.
If commission members can come to a bipartisan agreement, the maps will last for 10 years. If not, they will only last for four years.