Preliminary voting for Ohio’s May 3 primary will begin in less than a week, with only five weeks left until election day. Yet the state’s congressional and legislative maps are still being sued, leaving the upcoming election in limbo.
As the redistribution process continues across the country, states, including Ohio, Missouri and Florida, are shaking up as they drag out court cases. Other states, including North Carolina, have already decided to delay their state primaries.
The U.S. census is rearranged every 10 years after the census, drawing lines that make up the congressional and state legislature districts from which government officials are elected. The process plays an important role in shaping the political landscape for elections and in determining which party will gain control of Congress. This spells a wide legal battle because biased players try to secure the advantage.
Federal judges set Wednesday for a hearing on the weight of various options for Ohio’s May 3 primary, including pushing it back, keeping two separate primaries, or enforcing a previously rejected legal map.
The state Supreme Court has three times rejected the State House and Senate maps drawn by the Ohio Redistricting Commission, saying they are unconstitutional in favor of Republicans and not closely aligned with the choices of Ohio voters.
“Thus the resolution of this self-created chaos does not depend on the number of hands on the computer mouse, but rather on the political will to respect the public’s call for an end to biased germination,” the court wrote in its recent ruling.
Although the Ohio Redistricting Commission has produced a fourth set of maps, Ohio Secretary of State Frank Loroz says it is impossible for primaries to resolve the issue in a timely manner. Last week, he instructed all election boards to remove State House and Senate races from the ballot, warning that they could be re-joined if federal court intervenes.
“It was so unexpected, so I don’t know what to say to you,” Aaron Sellers, spokesman for the Franklin County Electoral Board, one of Ohio’s largest counties, told ABC News. “We are preparing for an early May 3 until we are told.”
Vendors say there are two primary options – one scenario would be an election with old maps and the other with new ones to replace the preliminary results – could be a logistical challenge for election officials as well as uncertainty for voters if voters reject court maps after they cast their ballots. Can happen.
“It’s hard to imagine that once a race is held, they will rule the maps unconstitutionally and have to do it again. But yes, I think it can happen.”
In Ohio, it’s not just a map of the State House of Representatives and Senate. The state Supreme Court is also weighing a new set of congressional maps, including the race for the U.S. House of Representatives, after repealing a previously commission-approved map to unfairly support Republicans. The court’s decision, however, was not expected until a few weeks after the preliminary election was scheduled.
“There is no reason to expedite this case. At the moment, it is quite clear that this case will not be tried before the 2022 primary election,” the court argued, citing its short schedule.
Court timeline means congressional map Courts have previously stated that unfairness will likely be used in primaries. The court advised state lawmakers to postpone the primary; However, a Republican-controlled legislature was able to thwart those efforts.
The refusal to delay the May 3 primary is already causing a lot of problems and missed the deadline. Foreign and military ballots were to be sent in mid-March; However, without a final district, LaRose has reached an agreement with the federal government to suspend the mailing ballot until April.
Florida Gov. Ron Desantis on Tuesday vetoed a map of his state’s newly drawn Congress, approved by the Republican-controlled legislature. Desantis had long promised to do so and pressured his colleagues to consider a map of his own congress, which would give Republicans more power. With an early August, the Florida legislature will have to call again for a special session to draw new districts.
In Missouri, filing of nominations for the 2022 Midterm ended Tuesday evening, but the redistribution remains incomplete. Part of the delay has been due to the conflict among Republicans over how to draw congressional districts that would benefit the party even better. Last week, the state Senate approved a congressional map, but it was not put to a vote in the House because of the split in the Democrats. The General Assembly was unable to finalize a congressional map before submitting candidates for the 2022 midterm on Tuesday evening.
Democratic attorneys have filed a lawsuit asking the court to draw up new congressional districts for the state.
Maryland and North Carolina, however, are not taking the opportunity and have already rescheduled their primaries. Earlier this month, the Maryland Court of Appeals issued an order postponing state primaries for three weeks as the court restructuring battle continues. And last December, the North Carolina Supreme Court ordered that the state’s 2022 primaries be delayed by two months because of lawsuits challenging Republican-drawn congressional and legal maps.