COLUMBUS, Ohio — A group of Ohioans gathered in downtown Columbus on Thursday to say they will not stand for what they feel is a lack of transparency in the congressional redistricting process.

What You Need To Know

  • Ohioans gathered in downtown Columbus to protest what they feel is a lack of transparency in the congressional redistricting process

  • The commission has yet to introduce a map or have any hearings

  • If the commission does not approve a new congressional map by Oct. 31, the process shifts to the General Assembly

There are less than two weeks before the Ohio Redistricting Commission has to approve a new map, but the commission has yet to introduce a map or have any hearings.

"Get to work! Do your job!" the nonpartisan voting rights group, Fair Districts Ohio, chanted again and again Monday afternoon.

Katie McCracken of Minerva Park, who was among the picketers, said she demonstrated because she is fed up with the Ohio Redistricting Commission.

"It's a struggle. I have to only watch the news for short periods of time because my blood pressure goes through the roof," said McCracken.

Like many Ohioans, McCracken was upset at the way the commission handled the legislative mapmaking process. Those maps are at the center of three lawsuits in front of the Ohio Supreme Court.

McCracken is afraid the congressional maps will be done the same way.

"I don't see any evidence to prove otherwise," she said.​

The demonstration happened outside Secretary of State Frank LaRose's office. A person who works for the secretary came outside to give the picketers a map. It was not a map of what the congressional districts could look like but directions to where Ohioans can find the co-chairs of the commission.

“If anyone has any questions about where any of the commissioners are on these issues, then the co-chairs should immediately call for a meeting so that members can begin these discussions,” said LaRose's press secretary, Robert Nichols, in a statement.

"I think there are members that are interested in doing the right thing," said Mike Ahern of Blacklick.

Ahern said he hopes that eventually includes all seven members of the commission.

"My main message is to start the work that needs to be done, do it in a transparent way. Let's get this done for democracy and for our country," said Ahern.

Two weeks ago, Democratic co-chair and Sen. Vernon Sykes, D-Akron, sent fellow co-chair and Republican House Speaker Robert Cupp, R-Lima, a letter asking for hearings to get started. All Cupp has said publicly is work is being done behind the scenes on a Republican version of the map and a hearing schedule will be announced “in the near future.”

"It seems like map makers are collectively burying their head in the sand. And voters deserve better,” said Jen Miller with the League of Women Voters of Ohio. “Once again, we could end up before the Ohio Supreme Court or maybe potentially we're going to have to go back to the ballot where we bring a redistricting process to the people that takes politicians out of the equation entirely.”

If the commission does not approve a new congressional map by Oct. 31, the process shifts to the General Assembly. The state legislature would then have until Nov. 30 before the final deadline.