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Panel of federal judges appointed to weigh in on Ohio redistricting

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Published: Mar. 18, 2022 at 7:57 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVG) - A panel of three federal judges will work to decide how Ohio should move forward in its legislative redistricting process, according to a court filing from the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

A group of GOP voters sued to ask a federal judge to intervene in the process. A judge just ordered that the panel will “determine the path forward.”

Secretary of State Frank LaRose told the court on Friday that he supports the move.

Chief Judge Algenon L. Marbley of the Southern District of Ohio appointed himself along with Amul R. Thapar, Circuit Judge of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, and Benjamin J. Beaton, District Judge of the Western District of Kentucky.

The court filing said the appointed panel will remain in place for the duration of the proceedings and any related cases.

It comes just days after the Ohio Supreme Court rejected the Ohio Redistricting Commission’s latest round of statehouse maps on Wednesday. It was the third map the court rejected.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced an agreement with Ohio’s Secretary of State on Friday to extend deadlines surrounding overseas and military voters following the latest map rejection.

Election officials will be required to transmit ballots to those applicable voters, by expedited means, by no later than April 5. The original deadline was Friday, March 18.

The agreement gives election officials in Ohio more time to receive and count absentee ballots from eligible overseas and military voters. The DOJ said the move will ensure service members, their families, and U.S. citizens overseas have the opportunity to fully participate in the May 3 primary election and avoid violations of federal law.

Overseas and military ballots will be accepted for an additional 10 days until May 23, the DOJ announcement said. Those ballots need to be sent by the close of the polls on May 3.

“This agreement reflects the Justice Department’s deep commitment to protecting the right to vote for members of our armed forces deployed around the world, their families, and U.S. citizens overseas, and ensuring that these voters are afforded a meaningful opportunity to vote in all federal elections,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

You can read the DOJ announcement in full here.

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