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Ohio's Congressional Redistrict Debate Gets Heated

A photo of the Senate committee.

The debate over how to draw Ohio’s Congressional districts continues at the Statehouse as lawmakers and leaders of a coalition of citizens groups talk behind closed doors. The GOP lawmakers want to put their redistricting plan, which lacks any Democratic support, on the May ballot. And if they do, the coalition, which wants to put its own issue before voters this fall, is promising a fight. 

Sen. Matt Huffman says he’s made changes to the plan supported by GOP lawmakers that would still leave legislators, not an outside board, in charge of the map-drawing process. Lawmakers need to pass it by Feb. 7 to make the May ballot. Huffman says it’s May or never because he doesn’t want two competing plans on the fall ballot.

“I think it’s difficult for the public to digest.’

Huffman says he wants a bipartisan agreement, and both sides are still talking. Still, Catherine Turcer with Common Cause Ohio says there is a non-negotiable sticking point.

“His proposal does not have a rule prohibiting gerrymandering.”

Absent that, Turcer says the citizens group will continue to gather more than 300,000 signatures to put their plan before voters in November.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment. Jo started her career in Louisville, Kentucky in the mid 80’s when she helped produce a televised presidential debate for ABC News, worked for a creative services company and served as a general assignment report for a commercial radio station. In 1989, she returned back to her native Ohio to work at the WOSU Stations in Columbus where she began a long resume in public radio.