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Negotiations Break Down in Ohio Congressional Redistricting Talks

map of Ohio's congressional districts
U.S. Department of the Interior

Closed-door negotiations over a new way to draw Ohio’s Congressional map have broken down. Statehouse Correspondent Jo Ingles reports lawmakers and representatives from citizens’ groups left the Statehouse late last night without coming to an agreement.

The two sides have been trying to amend a redistricting plan GOP lawmakers want in a way that would be acceptable to citizens’ groups that are pushing their own reform for the fall ballot. But shortly after 10 last night, Catherine Turcer from Common Cause Ohio said changes had not been enough to accomplish her groups’ basic goals.

“It does not address gerrymandering," Turcer said. "It does not keep communities together. And it doesn’t prohibit drawing a district map to favor or disfavor one political party. These are basic things you want in any proposal.”

Gov. John Kasich says he’s willing to step in to help Republican lawmakers and citizens’ groups work out a deal. Hours before talks broke down, Kasich told reporters that any plan must have minority party input. But he suggested the citizens’ groups opposing the lawmakers’ plan may be just trying to turn out voters for their November ballot issue.

kasich_-_want_lawmakers_to_work_it_o.mp3
Kasich wants lawmakers to work it out

“If these districts are not more competitive, then you either go hard right or hard left and we all lose in the end," Kasich said. "Hopefully, they will work something out here, and the outside forces won’t win because I think some of them want to block any success here.”

Talks are continuing, but lawmakers are running out of time. They will need to pass their plan before Feb.7th to get it on the May ballot.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment. Jo started her career in Louisville, Kentucky in the mid 80’s when she helped produce a televised presidential debate for ABC News, worked for a creative services company and served as a general assignment report for a commercial radio station. In 1989, she returned back to her native Ohio to work at the WOSU Stations in Columbus where she began a long resume in public radio.