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Ohio voters are confused about the upcoming August primary election, groups say

Daniel Konik
/
Statehouse News Bureau

Ohioans will cast votes in a special August 2 primary election in races for Ohio House and Ohio Senate seats.

The state legislative races were removed from the May 3 primary ballot due to court challenges and other delays in Ohio's redistricting process.

Community groups and other organizations are finding that voters around the state are confused by the special primary date.

Donovan O’Neil is state director for Americans for Prosperity Ohio — a conservative group. He said he knocked on doors over the weekend, trying to make them aware of candidates his group supports. He found many of the people he encountered are confused about the upcoming primary.

“A good number of them...the question was 'well wait, didn’t we already have a primary?'” O'Neil said.

Nazek Hapasha, policy affairs manager for the League of Women Voters of Ohio, said they're also working to make sure voters have information about the upcoming primary. She said advocates with her organization are also finding some voters are confused, and she noted some others have a different response.

“Those people are angry,” Hapasha said.

Hapasha said those who are angry said they have problems with the way redistricting was handled by the Republican-dominated Ohio Redistricting Commission and the court battle over proposed maps.

Hapasha said every time the organization puts out a message on social media, some people will respond with remarks that prove their frustration with the redistricting process and the actions that resulted in the need for the special August election. The League of Women Voters was among the groups filing lawsuits over that process.

Timeline: Follow the twists and turns of Ohio's redistricting process

When Ohioans go to the polls in August, they will vote on state legislative races based on maps that were rejected as unconstitutional by the Ohio Supreme Court. But a group of Republican voters filed a lawsuit in federal court to get those maps put in place, at least for this year.

In a 2-1 decision, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio ruled the maps could be used for the 2022 elections. The two federal judges who ruled in favor of implementing unconstitutional maps were appointed to court by former President Donald Trump.

The court told the Ohio Redistricting Commission it would have to go back to the drawing board to create new maps for the 2024 election.

Copyright 2022 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

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.