The Ohio Redistricting Commission will reconvene Wednesday to move forward with its duty to create and approve constitutional legislative districts ahead of the 2024 primaries after its initial meeting last week was stalled due to Republican infighting.
Last Wednesday, despite full attendance, the board started late and soon after halted proceedings entirely because of a disagreement between GOP Senate and House leadership on which chamber should co-chair the board, representing the party in map-making negotiations.
Last commission, which produced maps that were deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of Ohio on five different occasions, Republicans were represented by the House. This time around, the Senate wants its turn.
The disagreement festered, leading Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, a member of the board, to postpone the commission’s proceedings until further notice.
On Monday, the board’s members were instructed by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost that the disagreement between GOP Statehouse leadership wasn’t pertinent to the board’s initial proceedings — at least as far as the Ohio Constitution is concerned.
“The delay in choosing a co-chair need not hamper the process and the commission is on solid legal footing to convene a meeting and continue the important work ahead,” Yost wrote.
Even before last Wednesday’s meeting faltered, the board was running short on time. Previously, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, who holds a seat on the commission, told his colleagues that maps should be approved by Sept. 22 in order to give the state’s local boards of elections and primary candidates themselves ample time to prepare.
The deadline was thrown further into question by the false start. The board’s two Democratic members, House Minority Leader Allison Russo, D-Upper Arlington, and Senate Minority Leader Nickie Antonio, D-Lakewood, told reporters last Wednesday that they’re aiming for maps around mid-October. The two said the board should have met earlier in the year in order to meet LaRose’s deadline and that they were unwilling to cut corners in the process in order to make up for lost time.
Wednesday’s meeting is scheduled for 3 p.m. at the Rhodes State Office Tower in Columbus and open to the public.