That appears to be the most likely scenario. An impasse over a Republican redistricting plan that the Ohio Supreme Court rejected four times means that state legislative races will be conspicuously absent from the ballot when primary voters go to the polls on Tuesday.
Barring the last-minute intervention of the courts or the legislature, Ohio will be forced to hold a second primary, which state officials have said will most likely occur on Aug. 2.
Splitting up the primaries into two elections could cost an additional $15 million to $20 million, according to Frank LaRose, Ohio’s secretary of state, who is a Republican.
At least nine lawsuits have been filed in response to the maps drawn by the Ohio Redistricting Commission, a seven-member panel controlled by Republicans.
Democrats contend that the maps give Republicans an unfair advantage in legislative races, while Republicans maintain that they reflect the election results from the past decade in Ohio.
A three-judge federal court panel in Ohio ruled on April 20 that if the commission does not develop an acceptable map by May 28, the panel will have no choice but to require the state to use the third version of the commission’s map, even though the Ohio Supreme Court previously rejected it.
Republicans don’t appear to be in any hurry to redraw the map. The two Democrats on the redistricting commission tried to hold a meeting of the group on April 25 but were unable to persuade at least one Republican on the panel to take part as required. The doors to a conference room where the panel usually meets were locked.