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Published: Tuesday, 10/18/2011

OHIO CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS

Democrats give GOP until Friday to compromise

Repeal effort to go on otherwise

ASSOCIATED PRESS

COLUMBUS — Ohio’s Democratic Party chairman wants to know by week’s end if the state’s ruling Republicans will compromise on a new congressional district map.

The current map, drawn by the GOP and signed into law in September, is on hold after the Ohio Supreme Court ruled Friday that it is subject to possible repeal by voters. Senate Republicans had appropriated money to local elections boards in the bill in a move they hoped would make it effective immediately and shield it from repeal.

Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern said Monday he hoped to hear from GOP leaders by Friday whether they were willing to work on “a fair map with bipartisan support.”

Senate President Tom Niehaus’ spokesman, John McClelland, said all options were on the table.

The map came under fire from Democrats and voter groups, who say it was crafted to keep a GOP majority in Ohio’s congressional delegation.

The filing deadline for congressional candidates is Dec. 7, 90 days before Ohio’s March primary. The map is in legal limbo while the Democratic coalition collects signatures to put the map’s fate in voters’ hands in 2012.

Despite warnings from House Speaker William Batchelder that the decision would “throw the 2012 elections into legal chaos,” experts say that it’s unlikely Ohio will enter the presidential election year without congressional districts. If the state did nothing and left the old congressional districts in place — which were drawn using population counts from 2000 — Ohio would be in violation of the U.S. Constitution, said Dan Tokaji, professor at the Ohio State University’s Moritz college of law.



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