Federal judges to decide next steps in Ohio US House races


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A federal judicial panel in Ohio says it will decide by Tuesday whether to temporarily block the results of U.S. House races in Ohio that have gone forward under an unresolved congressional map.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio announced the timeline during a hearing Monday.

Side parties in a federal lawsuit over the state’s unresolved maps of legislative districts have raised issues with Black representation under the congressional map that was used to formulate May 3 ballots. They hope to stop the results of those races from being certified while court challenges at the state and federal levels proceed.

Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose last month ordered county election boards to use districts indicated on that map to create spring primary ballots. His position was that the map was the most recent approved by the Ohio Redistricting Commission and remained valid until a court determined otherwise.

The map is the second U.S. House plan okayed by the commission. Its first proposal was invalidated as an unconstitutional gerrymander unduly favoring Republicans.

The Ohio Supreme Court has pushed the briefing schedule in the legal challenge to the commission’s second congressional map well past the primary, effectively leaving questions of the 2022 election to the federal court.

Spring ballots do not include Ohio House and Ohio Senate races, because those maps are still in limbo.