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Early voting for May primary starts Tuesday, without Ohio House and Senate districts on the ballot

voting sign
Karen Kasler
/
Statehouse News Bureau
A sign directs voters to their polling location at a church in northeast Columbus for a previous election. Early voting for this year's primary election starts next week, and voters will not have the opportunity to vote for candidates in the Ohio House and Senate races, as the races won't be on ballots.

Preparations at Ohio’s 88 county boards of elections are going on ahead of early voting that’s set to begin Tuesday, though it’s unclear when voters will decide on House and Senate candidates.

While statewide races are on that ballot, those candidates aren’t because there are no constitutional maps for those legislative districts.

A panel of three federal judges who was asked to intervene in Ohio's redistricting saga declined to order a set of legislative maps be implemented or to make any changes to the elections calendar.

They said they'll wait until April 20, when the Ohio Supreme Court may have a decision on the latest set of legislative maps. That's the last possible date for those maps if the primary was to be moved to August 2, which is the latest date possible for a primary. A vote after that would interfere with timelines for the Nov. 8 general election.

One possible date that came up before three federal judges who were deciding whether they would intervene in the redistricting saga was May 24.

But some boards of elections might have a problem with that.

“The May 24 date in particular would only work if it is one unified primary with all contests appearing on it," said Aaron Ockerman, executive director of the Ohio Association of Election Officials.

"I've had some counties tell me this morning, 'Hey, if the legislature came back in emergency session today, and they said do one primary on May 24th, we can make it happen.' Other boards have said we're just too far down the planning process. We just have to move forward with May 3rd and then figure out something else," Ockerman said.

Republican state lawmakers have not proposed any legislation to move or split the primary. A pair of Senate Democrats have proposed moving it to June 28, a date also suggested by Democrats on the Ohio Redistricting Commission.
Copyright 2022 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.