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The Statehouse News Bureau provides educational, comprehensive coverage of legislation, elections, issues and other activities surrounding the Statehouse to Ohio's public radio and television stations.

Ohio lawmakers adjust candidate filing requirements with district maps in limbo

Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) discusses changes to the primary filing requirements. [Andy Chow / Statehouse News Bureau]
Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima)

The clock is ticking for potential candidates to file their petitions to run for the Ohio House or Senate.

But with new objections raised in the Ohio Supreme Court over the new state legislative maps, those district lines could change after the candidate filing deadline.

To address the issue, the legislature approved a bipartisan bill to allow flexibility for candidates to amend their petitions if they need new signatures after the initial Feb. 2 deadline.

If a district is redrawn but still includes a portion of a county in the original boundaries, then candidates can keep signatories on their petition who reside in that county even if they're no longer included in that district.

Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) says it's still possible the legislature might push that deadline.

"We hope it doesn't come to that. We hope we can make the petition process expansive enough that people can fairly file for these, you know, in the next several days," Huffman said.

But House Speaker Bob Cupp (R-Lima) said there’s no backup plan beyond this bill if the court strikes down the new maps.

The plaintiffs who filed objections against the new maps say Republicans gerrymandered the districts to benefit the GOP. Those opponents are asking the court to move the filing deadline.

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