Today, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose directed Ohio’s 88 county boards of elections to begin taking the necessary steps to place candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives on the May 3rd primary ballot. The order is pursuant to today's Ohio Redistricting Commission's passage of a four-year map for Ohio Congressional districts. On Saturday, the Secretary issued a similar directive to the Boards instructing them to include candidates for the Ohio General Assembly on the primary ballot.
“I recognize the tremendous challenges facing our county boards of elections given the incredibly short timeline and the myriad preparations and procedures that must be satisfied before the May 3rd Primary Election,” said Secretary LaRose. “However, only the General Assembly can set an election date, and they have made it abundantly clear that the 2022 primary is to be held May 3rd. Accordingly, today's directive instructs our county boards to immediately begin preparing for a single primary date for all statewide, Congressional, and State House and State Senate candidates to appear on a unified ballot. While accomplishing this will be difficult, I am confident that our tested, professional county boards will do everything within their power to execute on what we have all been instructed to do."
Today, Secretary LaRose provided the county boards of elections with the new Congressional district data necessary to fulfill that directive, along with instructions to do the following:
- Take immediate action to reprogram their voter registration system by incorporating the updated Congressional district boundaries; and
- Follow updated procedures for filing and signature validity for Congressional races.
The directive also provides clear guidance for candidates who wish to file petitions to run for the U.S. House. Those candidates may file in the most populous county of the district they seek to represent, as established by Senate Bill 258. If the most populous county has changed after passage of the new district plan by the Ohio Redistricting Commission, the board of elections where the candidate previously filed will transfer the filing documents to the new most populous county board of elections in the new district. Conversely, the directive also notes that any U.S. House candidate who has not yet filed their petition, must now file it with the most populous county board of elections in their newly created district, and must do so by 4:00 p.m. on March 4, 2022.
To help our county boards of elections respond to the current array of challenges, earlier today, the Ohio General Assembly appropriated $9 million to better support additional election administration costs resulting from the condensed election timeline. The appropriation was approved in response to a specific request from the Secretary. Secretary LaRose thanked legislative legislative leaders and described the categories of ways in which the funding will be used in a press release that can be read here.