COLUMBUS, Ohio — The seven members of the Ohio Redistricting Commission heard one last time from Ohioans about the maps they are set to vote on Wednesday at the Statehouse.
What You Need To Know
- The Ohio Redistricting Commission heard feedback on proposed maps
- Republicans and Democrats have both submitted maps
- The have been criticized as too partisan by some
- The commission has a deadline of Wednesday at midnight
"If we fail to get this right, it will more than likely be the first and the last opportunity to get this right," said Greg Moore, Co-Chair of the Ohio Citizens Redistricting Commission.
The OCRC, an independent and nonpartisan redistricting group, bashed both the Republican and Democratic maps that have been presented saying they do not go far enough in creating fair districts.
Instead, the commission presented what it calls 'unity maps.'
Ohio State University Professor Emeritus Dr. Richard Gunther said they are constitutional and should be considered.
"This is not a Democratic map. This is not a Republican map. This is a fair map that will allow the voters of Ohio to elect representatives who accurately reflect their political preferences," said Gunther.
However, House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes, D-Akron, said the official commission does not have enough time to consider other maps than those the caucuses have presented.
Mia Lewis with Common Cause Ohio, a nonpartisan organization dedicated to democracy, said the commission should take an extra week and miss the deadline if it means getting fair maps.
"You guys have done these heroic hours, but we're using up a lot of your time just telling you how frustrated we are with the process and with the outcome,” Lewis said. “These maps are going to last we hope for 10 years so it's of enormous significance.”
Whether the commission will buy more time remains to be seen. And after another day of criticism for the commission, Co-Chair Vernon Sykes, D-Akron, said he is not on board with any delay.
"The criticism is justifiable, but I believe we can meet the deadline and I'm hopeful that we will," said Vernon Sykes.
Sykes said Democrats are working behind the scenes with Auditor Keith Faber, R-Ohio, and Secretary of State Frank LaRose, R-Ohio, to see if they can come to common ground on the maps. As of Tuesday, the only maps that have been officially introduced were made by Republicans.
The commission has until midnight Wednesday to approve legislative maps.