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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 counties ordered to add legislative offices to May 3 ballots. Election workers ask for delay to primary

 The gavel for the map-making commission awaits its next hearing at the Ohio Statehouse. [Daniel Konik /  Statehouse News Bureau]
The gavel for the map-making commission awaits its next hearing at the Ohio Statehouse.

While the Ohio House and Senate maps approved by the Ohio Redistricting Commission last week are still awaiting a review by the state Supreme Court, Ohio’s elections officials are being told to prepare for more candidates for the May 3 primary.

Secretary of State Frank LaRose said last week without legislative and Congressional maps, it may be too late to hold a full primary on May 3.

He certified the candidates for U.S. Senate, governor and other statewide offices earlier this month.

Now he’s told the 88 county boards of elections to plan to add the state House and Senate and state party central committee candidates to the primary ballot, even though the maps approved by Republicans on the redistricting commission haven’t been okayed by the Ohio Supreme Court.

Officials with the Ohio Association of Elections sent a letter to state lawmakers Monday asking them to delay the primary.

Since legislative districts haven’t been firmed up yet, the association’s Aaron Ockerman said, many counties in Ohio no longer have the ability to run a successful primary election in two months.

“It’s gone from possible to impossible, where it’s gone from advisable to try to move forward to crunch deadline and try to make this work for May 3 to inadvisable and it’s mostly because we still lack all of the information we need to try to complete a successful primary on May 3,” Ockerman said.

He's not telling lawmakers what to do, Ockerman said, but he wants them to know elections boards are in uncharted territory.

March 18 is the federal deadline to send ballots to overseas and military voters. And even if the maps are oked this week, he said there isn’t a lot of time to get ballots printed and do all of the things that need to be done to meet the deadlines.

LaRose's directive also said those who want to run for the U.S. House can file in the most populous county of one of the 15 districts established in the Congressional map bill signed in November. The filing deadline is set for Friday, though that map was thrown out by the Supreme Court last month and no new Congressional map has been passed yet.

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