Carey: The search for a compromise to Congressional redistricting
Submitted by Rep. John Carey
Regardless of your political affiliation, we all can agree that having two primaries in Ohio is not an ideal solution to our redistricting issues. Unfortunately, however, the Ohio House was forced to approve House Bill 318, legislation that creates a June primary. This action was precipitated by a referendum launched by the Ohio Democratic Party to put the drawing of U.S. congressional districts on hold.
As a consequence of this referendum, a second primary was necessary to preserve the voting rights of all Ohioans on active duty abroad. To meet the original March primary deadline, ballots for members of the military would have to be sent before Jan. 20. A bill to move the primary from March to May was introduced earlier in the year, but not enough House Democrats voted to approve the change. Out of options, the House had to take decisive action to ensure that our military members could vote absentee.
Speaker Batchelder negotiated diligently with House Democrats to make adjustments to the redistricting map to address targeted concerns. The original map already placed two Republican incumbents and two Democrat incumbents in the same districts, meaning that both the Republican and Democratic parties would lose one incumbent. The map is outlined in House Bill 369. It requires 66 votes to become law immediately, and of the 99 members in the House, 59 are Republican and 40 are Democrat.
The vote count fell short by eight votes, despite a huge push by Batchelder. It became evident with the lack of votes from Minority Leader Budish and some others that the House Democratic Caucus wants our congressional districts drawn by the courts. It is a shame that the judicial system is being used to thwart the Constitutional responsibility of the Legislature. The House Democrats getting their way should not come at the expense of creating chaos in our state government.
As we continue to navigate this difficult situation, I can assure you that I will do what I can to make the process fair and open to all people.
Rep. Carey may be reached by calling (614) 466-1366, e-mailing District87@ohr.state.oh.us, or writing to State Rep. John Carey, 77 South High Street, Columbus, Ohio, 43215.