Democrats Outline Plan For Congressional Redistricting Referendum

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Ohio Democratic Party Chair Chris Redfern says he’s asking the Ohio Supreme Court, the same court that gave the green light for a referendum just a few days ago to grant another request. Redfern wants the court to reset the clock so the party has a full 90 days to collect petition signatures since more than 2 weeks has been spent in legal wrangling. And in the meantime, he is calling on Statehouse Republicans to come back to the table, sit down with Democrats to craft a map that he says needs to be more competitive, more compact, and would insure a majority minority district in Cuyahoga County. Redfern is putting Republicans on notice that if they want to negotiate, they need to do it now, not later.

Redfern says, "There will become a time in the near days that we will go forth with the referendum and no ability to compromise will be offered because they we would have to insert ourselves in the process of collecting signatures. And if we are going to spend between ½ million and a million dollars to collect petition signatures, we are going to commit ourselves to doing so. We will not allow the Republicans to run out the clock on this."

Republicans could pass another map to try to get around this ballot issue. Redfern knows that and says bring it on.

Redfern says, "To get to meet the minimum standard to start the referendum process takes an afternoon. So if Speaker Batchelder and President Niehaus want to go around us yet again that doesn’t bring competitiveness, fairness, and balance, we will go after that map as well."

The Director of Communications for the Ohio House of Representatives, Mike Dittoe, says the Democrats are trying to cause chaos to throw the issue into the hands of a court. And Dittoe says there’s no reason for that.

Dittoe says, "First of all, this was a fair and open process from the beginning and the democrats were absent from that process until the 11th hour."

Dittoe says Democrats did not draw their own map for consideration. He says Republican legislative leaders are not sure how they will deal with this situation.

Dittoe says, "While the Speaker and the Senate President certainly disagree with the ruling from the court, they respect the decision and the legislature will act accordingly. I know the Speaker and Senate President are working with legal counsel and other interested parties to find out the best solution moving forward."

Dittoe doesn’t rule out any options, including one that would involve legislators drawing a new map…with or without the input of Democrats.

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