Dems Call for Slow Down of Redistricting Process

State Rep. Kathleen Clyde sent a letter to Rep. Matt Huffman, Chairman of the State Government and Elections Subcommittee on Redistricting, calling for a slow down on the process to pass a new congressional redistricting map.  In the letter Rep. Clyde states, “We need to step back and take the time to do this right with bipartisan support for whatever plan the legislature adopts.  We’ll need an emergency clause to act no matter our course of action, so there is no reason why we cannot take additional time for hearings and discussion.  Failure to do so ensures protracted legal battles, public confusion and uncertainty for voters and candidates across the state.”

A copy of the full letter appears below.

Dear Chairman Huffman,

I write to call your attention to the legal chaos that we are heading for at high speed.  With success looking more and more likely on the effort to referendum HB 194, we are almost certain to have a big problem with the timeline of upcoming election deadlines.  Without bipartisan cooperation, we will hit the December 7 candidate filing deadline for next year’s elections without first having the new congressional district lines in place.  Candidates will be required to file their candidate petitions by December 7 under the old congressional district plan and there is no provision in law to prevent this paradox. 

The primary is scheduled for March 6, 2012.  HB 194 would have moved the primary to May but that bill is likely to be on hold until November 2010.  The candidate filing deadline will be December 7, 2011, only 86 days away and within the typical 90-day waiting period before bills take effect.  Only a bipartisan vote of 66 members of the House can make a law take effect immediately and avoid the legal chaos that will ensue if changes are not made in time. 

Redistricting is moving fast and, despite the pleas of the public that we all heard when we traveled the state for regional hearings, the map under consideration has not been released to the public nor to members of the State Government and Elections committee.  Meanwhile, we have a possible vote scheduled for less than 48 hours from now. 

We need to step back and take the time to do this right with bipartisan support for whatever plan the legislature adopts.  We’ll need an emergency clause to act no matter our course of action, so there is no reason why we cannot take additional time for hearings and discussion.  Failure to do so ensures protracted legal battles, public confusion and uncertainty for voters and candidates across the state.  Politicians’ drawing the lines for maximum political advantage is not fair and has delivered extreme policies in Ohio and partisan posturing in Washington.  We can do better. 

Respectfully,

Kathleen Clyde
State Representative
House District 68

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