A typo has delayed signature gathering for the group backing Ohio’s citizens redistricting panel

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (Statehouse News Bureau) — It’s back to the drawing board again for the group trying to change the redistricting process of drawing congressional and state legislative district maps through a ballot issue next year. And it’s all because of a typo.

Members of the Ohio Senate Government Oversight Committee hear testimony on a new map of state congressional districts.
Members of the Ohio Senate Government Oversight Committee hear testimony on a new map of state congressional districts, Nov. 16, 2021, at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio. Advocacy groups fighting Ohio’s political maps in court formally objected Thursday, Oct. 5, 2023, to the latest round of Statehouse districts, which they see as unfairly drawn to favor Republicans. [Julie Carr Smyth | AP, File
The amendment from the group Citizens Not Politicians would create a 15- member commission of Republicans, Democrats and independents to draw the congressional and legislative maps that are now approved by the Republican-dominated Ohio Redistricting Commission. Current and former politicians would be banned from serving on the panel.

Citizens Not Politicians includes Republican former Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, who joined the court’s three Democrats in ruling all the maps put forward by the Ohio Redistricting Commission in 2021 and 2022 were unconstitutionally gerrymandered.

But a date that’s specified in the amendment is listed incorrectly on the language on petitions that Republican Attorney General Dave Yost approved for the group. The amendment says the citizens commission must adopt new legislative maps by Sept. 19, 2025. But the language on the petitions says the deadline would be Sept. 15, 2025.

The attorney general’s office rejected the group’s language twice before approving the wording on the third attempt earlier this month.

Chris Davey with Citizens Not Politicians said in a statement they notified the attorney general’s office in a letter and will submit new language soon.

“This minor setback will slightly delay the start of signature gathering but changes nothing about the substance of the amendment, our resolve to end gerrymandering in Ohio, or our ability to get it done,” said Davey in a statement.

But that delay sets the start of the signature-gathering campaign after election day, which is often used by groups trying to get to registered voters. Citizens Not Politicians must get more than 413,00 valid signatures by July to make the November 2024 ballot.