Republicans repeatedly have warned that the Statehouse stalemate over congressional district lines could place pencil and eraser, or at least the computer mouse, in the hands of unelected federal judges, possibly even from outside Ohio.
But Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern, who is preparing a petition drive to put a GOP-drawn map on next year’s ballot, said he doesn’t fear court intervention. “It couldn’t get any worse,” he said, referring to the map that, at least on paper, looks like it would establish 12 safe or leaning-Republican districts and four solidly Democratic districts.
Talks continue as House Republicans hope to peel off enough Democratic votes by making some minor changes to their existing map that would bolster minority voting clout in a handful of districts. They would need a minimum of seven Democratic votes to achieve a super-majority of 66 votes to allow the map to take effect immediately and head off a referendum at the pass.
No deal was immediately struck as members of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus largely stood firm with the Democratic Party as a whole in presenting their demands, which include reuniting all of the city of Toledo into one district.
Should the stalemate continue and Ohio march toward a referendum on the map that wouldn’t appear on the ballot for more than a year, long after the election process for 2012 congressional elections would begin, the likelihood that a state or federal court would intervene increases.
Democrats have until late December to submit at least 231,147 valid signatures of registered voters to the secretary of state’s office to put the question on the November, 2012, ballot.
The stalemate claimed its first casualty last week: Ohio’s early primary for president, vice president, U.S. House of Representatives, and political party delegates. Those contests were postponed until June 12 because they are tied to congressional district lines.
Full Article: Politics – Toledo Blade.