COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Ohio is poised to hold a second primary election on Aug. 2 with a set of unconstitutional statehouse district maps.
A federal court ordered Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose in a late ruling Friday to forge ahead with plans for an Aug. 2 primary election — using the third set of unlawful state legislative maps drawn by the Republican-majority Ohio Redistricting Commission — so long as no other map is approved by midnight Saturday, according to court records.
The 2-1 opinion from the three-judge panel comes two days after the Ohio Supreme Court declared the commission’s third set of statehouse maps unconstitutional Wednesday, marking the second time the court rejected the specific set of maps.
“We refrained from intervening in Ohio’s state elections,” the federal court’s ruling reads. “Yet we said that we would intervene to guarantee a state election if the state’s officials could not approve another map in time.”
Despite the Ohio Supreme Court’s ruling that ordered the commission to reconvene and submit a sixth set of maps before June 3, the federal judges with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio voided the state court’s decision, arguing that the “state has failed to act.”
In late April, the federal court set a May 28 deadline for the commission to pass acceptable maps or implement the maps rejected by the state court.
The maps give Republicans a 54-45 district advantage in the House and an 18-15 district advantage in the Senate. Opponents argued the GOP districts would not 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.
Read the federal court’s entire ruling below: