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Secretary of State, Attorney General warn of primary problems because of no Ohio House, Senate maps

Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose, speaking to reporters after an Ohio Redistricting Commission meeting in January 2022.
Daniel Konik
Statehouse News Bureau
Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose, speaking to reporters after an Ohio Redistricting Commission meeting in January 2022.

Ohio’s chief elections official and the state’s top lawyer are telling legislative leaders on the Ohio Redistricting Commission that the May 3 primary likely can’t happen with a complete ballot for all the offices that are up for election.

Secretary of State Frank LaRose wrote to Senate President Matt Huffman that it’s impossible to see a scenario where a full May primary can go forward, because the Redistricting Commission they’re both on has yet to approve legislative and congressional district maps after previous maps were ruled by the Ohio Supreme Court to be unconstitutionally gerrymandered.

LaRose warned the commission last week: “We need finality. We need to decide quickly between approving a map that the Court can find acceptable or the legislature wrestling with the tough challenges of deciding to change the date of the primary. There’s no in-between.”

And Attorney General Dave Yost, also a Republican but not on the Commission, has written them as well, saying unless lawmakers act, the primary will go forward without state House and Senate and congressional offices on the ballot.

Yost also writes that there could be problems with the November vote as well, and suggests that other ideas could be developed; for instance, "some sort of ranked-choice voting could be enacted, or a post-November runoff process....But a solution must be found."

The Ohio Redistricting Commission will meet again on Wednesday afternoon. That's also the deadline for the Commission to tell the Ohio Supreme Court why it shouldn't be held in contempt for not enacting maps by the court's ordered time last Thursday.

Copyright 2022 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.