Tags: Ohio | Political | Map | In Limbo

Ohio Political Map in Limbo

Saturday, 26 Nov 2011 12:26 PM

By Gary Cohen

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Ohio Democrats are racing the political clock in an effort to force a referendum on a new district map for the state in 2012.

A new map was signed into state law in September and Ohio Democrats have until Christmas Day to come up with enough petition signatures to put the issue on next November's ballot.

On its website, the Ohio Democratic Party is putting on a holiday push to get the more than 230,000 valid signatures it needs to stop the new map from taking effect December 25th.

By state law, the Ohio Democrats had 90 days from the date the new map was signed into law to gather up the signatures it needs. Day 90 is Christmas Day.

The new map is described on the Ohio Democratic website as an, "unfair gerrymandered congressional map that takes away competitive elections."

The party is urging Democrats in the GOP controlled state to, "protect your voice in Congress."

Republicans gained control of the state Legislature and the governor's mansion last year.

If enough signatures are collected, a referendum will be set and a judge will need to decide to either use the current GOP map or draw up a new one, according to state law.

Due to declines in population, Ohio lost two if its 18 seats and the Democrats are claiming the new map gives Republicans the advantage in twelve districts they would be favored to win in the remaining 16 districts.

The political uncertainty will be costing Ohio in the pocket with the state having to split its primary elections.

The Senate primary will take place March 6 and the presidential primary June 12.

The presidential primary had to be moved because the candidates must collect enough signatures from each congressional district in order to be on the ballot and, because of the districts being in limbo, there was not enough time to get those signatures by March 6.

The result is that will cost Ohio millions of dollars.

Renowned Ohio political correspondent Thomas Suddes writes in the Cleveland Plain Dealer that some Statehouse Republicans, "seemingly think one statewide 2012 primary election (tab $15 million) is good for Ohio so two (tab $30 million) would be even better."

The map is not about governance, it's about drama, according to Suddes, adding, "Columbus wrangling over the map, especially over congressional districts, gets in the way of more important work."

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