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Board of Elections Hustles to Get Ballots Done After Redistricting

When two Ohio primary elections are scrapped in favor of one, county boards of elections find a confusing situation.

All will be ready when overseas voting starts on Jan. 21, despite some elections board workers having to scramble a bit in the last week or so.

That's because a controversial U.S. congressional redistricting plan wasn't finalized until early January.

It all began with the 2010 U.S. Census. Population loss resulted in Ohio losing two Congressional seats, from 18 to 16. Plans began for redrawing Congressional district in time for the March 6, 2012 primary.

Under threat of a referendum, the state Legislature created a bill that allowed for two primaries; one in March for state representatives and on in June for U.S. Congress and the president.

On Dec. 14, Ohio lawmakers brokered a deal to accept a revised congressional map and a March 6 primary. The costly second primary in June was eliminated.

The Ohio House and Senate redistricting maps were finished, said Paul Adams, Lorain County board of elections director. On Jan. 4, Democrats filed a lawsuit with the Ohio Supreme Court over the new Statehouse legislative districts, claiming it heavily favored Republican candidates.

But election board workers across the state then had barely a month to prepare ballots for the March primary. Ballots needed to be ready for Jan. 21, the day when the law requires overseas ballots to be mailed.

Despite the situation, Cuyahoga County Board of Elections officials said everything went fine in their preparation of the ballots.

"Our ballots are on schedule and should be ready by the end of the week," said Mike West, a spokesman for the elections board.

Cuyahoga County still has four districts, but they've been shuffled. The biggest consequence of the change is that longtime Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich will have to face off against Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur in a primary battle for the new 9th district, which stretches from Kaptur's home of Toledo east into Cuyahoga County.

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