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Ohio Secretary of State Week in Review for the Week Ending February 25, 2022

Ohio Redistricting Commission Passes State District Maps

This week, the Ohio Redistricting Commission met to review proposals for Congressional district maps and discuss finality for Ohio House and Senate district maps. On Thursday, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose and the Commission passed a map for Ohio House and State districts. The map, which met the constitutional requirements and complies with judicial guidelines from the Ohio Supreme Court, was sent to the Court for approval.

The map can be found at OhioSoS.gov/Districts.

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Photo courtesy of the Toledo Blade.

Preparing for a Successful Primary Election

In response to the Ohio Redistricting Commission’s approval of constitutional state legislative maps, Senate President Matt Huffman and House Speaker Robert Cupp sent a letter to Secretary LaRose, reiterating the General Assembly’s order to include legislative contests on the May 3 primary ballot. The letter states the following and can be read by clicking here:

“…We are providing your office with the underlying information for the newly adopted plan, including the shape files.

“Please immediately transmit the relevant information to all the state’s boards of elections as you deem appropriate so that the necessary preparations may be made for carrying out the primary election on May 3rd, 2022.”

Secretary LaRose, in response, directed county boards of elections to begin taking the steps necessary to place candidates for the General Assembly and State Party Central Committee on the May 3rd primary ballot.

“The General Assembly has the legal authority to set the time, place, and manner of our elections, and they’ve made it clear that the state House and Senate contests will be placed on the May 3rd ballot,” said LaRose. “I’ve also communicated to the legislative leaders the risks associated with rushing this process. Elections officials across Ohio are concerned about the compressed timeline for candidate certification, ballot preparation, and the programming and testing of voting equipment. These are serious concerns, but our directive is clear, and we will work tirelessly with Ohio’s bipartisan election professionals to achieve it, delivering the secure, accessible election Ohioans expect and deserve.”

Secretary LaRose provided the county boards of elections with the new 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 district borders;
  • Follow updated procedures for filing and signature validity for General Assembly races; and
  • Follow updated procedures for filing and signature validity for state political party central committee races.

The directive also gives clear guidance for candidates who wish to file petitions to run for the U.S. House of Representatives. 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 changes after passage of a 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 district. The filing deadline for congressional candidates is set in law for Friday, March 4th.

Additionally, Secretary LaRose submitted a waiver request today to the United States Department of Defense, seeking more time to prepare and deliver ballots to military voters and their families serving overseas (under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act). That waiver request can be read here.

“As I told the legislative leaders, I’m very concerned that the compressed timeline of this election will impact the ability of our boards of elections to get these ballots by March 18th,” said LaRose. “As a combat veteran myself, I know what it’s like to cast a ballot from the battlefield, and I’m determined to make sure these delays back home don’t deprive our brave men and women a vote. I’m confident the Defense Department will work with us to mitigate these unprecedented circumstances.”

Junior State of America Winter Congress

Over the weekend, Secretary LaRose spoke to high school students visiting the Ohio Statehouse as part of the Winter Congress for the Junior State of America youth program. JSA is a student-run, national organization with a mission to educate and prepare high school students to be active participants and effective, ethical leaders in our democratic society. The Secretary spoke to the group about what inspired him to serve and how they can be active participants in their communities by voting and serving as poll workers.

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Secretary LaRose speaks students from the Junior State of America youth program.

In Case You Missed It:

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WHIO: More than 16,000 new businesses created in Ohio last month, state data shows

More new businesses are coming to Ohio, according to new data from Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose.

LaRose announced this week that 16,571 new businesses were created in January 2022, marking a 32 percent increase from December 2021. The number was also higher than that of January 2021.

“The pandemic and record-breaking inflation are certainly making it a challenge for job creation, but Ohio entrepreneurs are showing that they are optimistic about what they can accomplish in our great state,” LaRose said in a statement.

January’s number of new businesses was higher than the monthly average in 2021. According to LaRose, 197,010 new businesses were created in 2021, averaging out to 16,417 per month.

Read more here.

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News 5 Cleveland: Portage Lakes Polar Bear Jump to benefit Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank on Saturday

AKRON, Ohio — Would you jump into a freezing cold lake right now? How about if it's for a good cause like fighting local hunger Tomorrow’s your chance at the 18th annual Portage Lakes Polar Bear Jump to benefit the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank.

Hundreds are expected to attend, including Secretary of State Frank Larose, and participants are encouraged to dress in fun costumes.

If you're too scared, you can sign up as a chicken and collect donations for another to jump on your behalf.

Read more here.

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