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Republican Keith Faber joins Democrats in calling for Ohio Redistricting Commission to reconvene

Andy Chow

Auditor Keith Faber, a Republican, is joining the Democratic members of the Ohio Redistricting Commission in calling for the commission to reconvene as soon as possible.

Faber says the commission must meet — either in-person or virtually — in order to meet the May 6 deadline set by the Ohio Supreme Court.

"Scheduling a meeting has proven to be a challenge over the past week, with a member of the commission sidelined with COVID and others preparing for the May 3rd primary," Faber said in a letter to the other commissioners. "But, the commission has shown the ability to conduct our meetings remotely and I encourage this option be afforded for each meeting moving forward to increase availability and participation."

Earlier this year, Faber proposed an adopted rule change, which said a new commission meeting could be called by a collection of any three commission members.

The rules state that the co-chairs have 24 hours to schedule a meeting and provide notice of when that meeting will take place.

Faber is also proposing the commission ask the state attorney general to request the May 6 deadline be extended to May 13.

On Monday, Democratic members of the Ohio Redistricting Commission attempted to hold a meeting in the Ohio Statehouse but did not yet have the backing of one other commissioner.

House Minority Leader Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) and Sen. Vernon Sykes (D-Akron) have also been calling for the commission to reconvene in order to meet the Ohio Supreme Court deadline of creating new state legislative district maps by May 6.

Sykes is a co-chair, but he would need the other co-chair, House Speaker Bob Cupp (R-Lima), to join him in calling for a meeting. Cupp's office said they will keep everyone updated when a meeting is scheduled, but did not add any further details.

If the commission does not adopt new maps that are deemed constitutional by the Ohio Supreme Court's deadline, the federal court will implement Republican-drawn maps already invalidated by the state Supreme Court. Five of the seven commissioners are Republicans.

Early voting is under way for Ohio's May 3 primary with statewide, congressional, and local races on the ballot. Without constitutional maps, state legislative races were removed from the ballots. A second primary will need to take place for those races.
Copyright 2022 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.