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Reps. West, Sobecki introduce legislation to move primary election to June 7

January 24, 2022
Lisa A. Sobecki News

COLUMBUS – House Assistant Minority Leader Thomas West (D-Canton), president of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus (OLBC), and Rep. Lisa Sobecki (D-Toledo), chair of the Ohio Democratic Women’s Legislative Caucus, today introduced House Bill (HB) 544 to move the 2022 primary election date to June 7  in light of the uncertainty surrounding Ohio’s new congressional and state legislative maps. Both sets of maps have been ruled unconstitutional by the Ohio Supreme Court and must be redrawn. The bill would also move the filing deadline for legislative candidates to March 3. 

“We feel that this change to the election calendar is necessary to ensure that Ohioans have a thorough understanding of their new districts and the candidates running in those districts,” said Rep. West. “The Ohio Redistricting Commission and the legislature could have avoided this situation entirely by delivering fair maps the first time. Now, the Supreme Court has to review a second set of maps that do not comply with the Court’s directive and the constitutional requirement that maps must reflect Ohio’s partisan voting preferences. We owe it to voters to deliver on fair maps and an election process that allows them to make informed choices.”

“Hundreds of Ohioans testified and demanded fair districts, but they were ignored by the Republican commissioners. We need to move the primary date to June because of uncertainty and unknowns about the new district lines after Republicans failed to draw fair maps the first time,” said Rep. Sobecki. “We had a second chance to draw fair maps, but with the possibility of another court challenge, we must prepare to delay the primary.”

The lawmakers filed their bill just two days after the Ohio Redistricting Commission approved on party lines new state legislative maps that would give Republicans a 57-42 seat advantage in the Ohio House and a 20-13 seat advantage in the Ohio Senate, despite Ohio’s statewide voting preferences over the last ten years being about 54 percent Republican and 46 percent Democratic. Nearly a dozen of the House districts considered Democratic-leaning in the GOP map have a partisan Democratic index below 51%.