WARRENSVILLE HEIGHTS, Ohio — We are less than a day away from when the Ohio Redistricting Commission is expected to vote on the state's new legislative maps. And while it is been widely expected that the ones proposed by Republicans would soon take effect, Ohio Secretary of State Frank Larose is now leaving the door open for negotiations.
Monday's hearing in Warrensville Heights followed a similar tone to Sunday's hearing in Dayton with strong opposition to the Republican-proposed maps.
"Ohio is gaining a reputation as a state that is moving more and more to the extreme right. I don't believe this accurately reflects the political will of the voters. I think it has happened over the last 10 years largely due to this issue of gerrymandering," said Daniel Bruce of Lakewood.
Republicans currently have a supermajority in the Statehouse and the maps they have put forth would make sure things stay the way they are. However, Democrats and nonpartisan redistricting advocates said there should not be a supermajority because only 55% of Ohioans lean Republican.
“Based on the hyper-partisan maps produced at the eleventh hours, it appears that you have acted in violation of the Ohio Constitution for the sole purpose of gaining partisan advantage,” said Barbara Friedman Yaksic of Cleveland.
Senate Democrats previously presented a map that balanced the scales more than their counterparts. Sen. Vernon Sykes, D-Akron, who co-chairs the commission, presented an amended map Monday along with his daughter and House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes, D-Akron.
“It is important for both the Senate and House Democratic caucuses to put forth what we deem as something we can continue to negotiate on. And that is why you all are seeing these maps and we hope that they can be taken seriously,” said Emilia Sykes.
Even though Sykes' maps were presented they were not voted on and formally introduced by the commission. That would need to happen before the Democratic maps can be taken fully into consideration for adoption.
"I appreciate that you all have made what I consider a good faith proposal here. One that leaves some room to do some work together," said LaRose.
The redistricting commission will hold its last hearing Tuesday morning before it is expected to vote on the final maps Wednesday morning. The legislative maps would only be 10-year maps if both Democrats on the commission approve of them.