Ohio House speaker says no primary election legislation coming soon | News

The Ohio House Speaker said Wednesday’s legislation would not change the date of the May primaries.

Speaker Bob Cupp said the process was “in the hands of the federal court,” despite various court documents in which he said the election was a legislative matter and any changes must be made in the General Assembly.

The Ohio Capital Journal asked Cupp directly to confirm that the House does not intend to legislate a new primary date within the next two weeks.

“That’s right, we’re not in session,” Cupp said during a panel after Wednesday’s House session.

He was asked about potential changes to the election earlier in the press briefing, and he postponed the job.

“We will let the Federal Court process continue,” Cupp said.

A federal lawsuit was filed by GOP voters earlier this year claiming voters are losing their right to vote with the chaos surrounding redistricting. Originally, the plaintiffs, including Ohio Right to Life leader Michael Gonidakis, asked that the third map passed by the Ohio Redistricting Commission be forcibly used by a three-judge court panel. of American District.

This map was rejected by the Supreme Court of Ohio before the federal lawsuit was filed, but the process of adopting a fourth version of the legislative districts was unsuccessful.

The fourth map ended up being a near-copy of the rejected third version, with Senate Speaker Matt Huffman acknowledging as he moved for his endorsement that the map had “97%” similarity to the third version.

Because the process, which began in September, took so long, the secretary of state’s office was forced to remove legislative races from ballots for the May 3 primary, while ensuring a divided primary.

Lawsuits have been filed in the Ohio Supreme Court asking that the fourth map be invalidated for many of the same reasons as the third map, and the map’s challengers have also asked the court to hold the commission members from the GOP in contempt for violating court orders.

Cupp and Senate Speaker Matt Huffman have argued in earlier court documents that the power of elections and map-drawing rests solely with the redistricting commission and lawmakers, apparently contrary to Cupp’s statements on Wednesday.

“It is the commission and the general assembly that have sole legislative power to create legislative and congressional districts,” lawyers for the legislative leaders wrote in court to sue the congressional districts.

Secretary of State Frank LaRose, in more recent court documents, urged the justice system to stay out of the process. In his filing against objections to the newer maps, he posited that the Ohio Redistricting Commission has more time to figure out the legislative maps.

“Most importantly, there is still time for the legislature to take action to extend the time within which such a decision must be made,” LaRose said. “This court should not abandon the constitutional process even though the petitioners did.”

The federal court twice chose not to intervene in the state process to give it time to reach a resolution. The first time the court withheld judgment was just before the March 28 deadline for the commission to complete new maps.

In a hearing before Chief Justice Algenon Marbley, Justice Benjamin Beaton and Justice Amul Thapar last Wednesday, parties from the Secretary of State’s office gave August 2 as a potential date for a second primary to include races. legislative.

The judges considered not only the third map, but also the map drawn by independent cartographers during the final redistricting commission hearings, and also debated whether or not to use the 2010 map for another year. .

They decided to give the state until April 20 to submit an official map and give the state’s highest court time to issue its rulings. A status conference was scheduled for Monday.

Jake Zuckerman contributed to this report.

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