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The Suburbanite
  • Editorial: Redistricting mess is getting worse

  • The issue: Ohio’s 2012 primary elections

    Our view: Holding second primary will confuse voters and waste their money

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  • The issue: Ohio’s 2012 primary elections
    Our view: Holding second primary will confuse voters and waste their money
    Two 2012 primary elections? Really, Columbus? This is not the best way to spend $15 million of taxpayers’ money.
    Because of the congressional redistricting mess, state legislators are between a rock and a hard place when it comes to next year’s political calendar. Both parties are to blame.
    Republicans approved a badly gerrymandered map of new congressional districts that will take effect in 2013. The map will dictate which candidates run where in races for Congress in November 2012.
    Democrats didn’t draw their own map as an alternative. Now they have received approval from the Ohio Supreme Court to put repeal of the GOP map on that same November 2012 ballot. If they get enough signatures on petitions for a repeal, the new map won’t take effect. But Ohio can’t use the current map, either; it has 18 districts instead of the 16 that the state must have for the 2012 election because of the results of the last census.
    Who’s on first? More accurately, who’s in the 1st Congressional District? And the 2nd? And the 16th?
    You see the problem.
    It’s a problem Republicans must figure a way out of soon, because the filing deadline for candidates in a March primary is in early December. Republicans have to do something to avert a referendum on their new map. So to give themselves more time, they’re proposing to hold two primaries — in March for seats in the state Legislature and one U.S. Senate seat, and in June for president and U.S. House seats.
    Good grief. How will this not confuse voters?
    And how will it not waste as much as $15 million to stage a second primary?
    We give Republicans in the Ohio Senate a tiny amount of credit for specifying in their bill, passed Thursday, that the state will pay for the extra primary rather than inflicting the cost on local election boards. So it’s not an unfunded mandate. But whether it’s paid for with state money or local money, a second primary will be paid for with taxpayers’ money, and it will be money wasted.
    Ohioans may not be able to explain the ins and outs of redistricting, but they know wasted money when they see it. They may be about to see plenty of it.