Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose in a letter Thursday advised that the May 3 primary election should not include congressional maps on the ballots, citing the decision by the Ohio Supreme court to reject maps, sending the Ohio Redistricting Commission back to the drawing board for the fourth time.

“As a result of last night’s decision by the Ohio Supreme court, and barring the immediate action of a federal court, our 88 county boards of elections can no longer include contests for the state House and state Senate in the May 3, 2022 primary,” LaRose wrote in the letter Thursday night addressed to Republican Gov. Mike DeWine and the state’s legislature, the Columbus Dispatch reported.

Blaming the disarray on the Biden administration for delaying U.S. Census data needed for map making, he said election officials would still proceed with plans for the May 3 primary that would include statewide, local, and congressional races unless they are instructed otherwise.

The Associated Press

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose speaks to reporters after a meeting of the Ohio Redistricting Commission on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022, at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Julie Carr Smyth)

Without the approved redistricting maps, only statewide candidates, local candidates, and ballot issues could be on the May 3 ballot because those can be voted on without boundaries being defined.

The Associated Press

In this April 28, 2020 file photo, Marcia McCoy drops her ballot into a box outside the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections in Cleveland, Ohio. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

“As I’ve often stated in recent weeks, I believe the motive is entirely political, and the strategy is being bankrolled by out-of-state special interests ultimately seeking court-ordered gerrymandering for partisan advantage,” he added, noting that it would be logistically impossible to pull off.

LaRose’s letter also instructed the local boards of election not to send or alter any ballots due to there being pending litigation on the matter. DeWine recently signed legislation into law that would allow the state to send ballots as late as April 5 — less than a month before the election — but the Columbus Dispatch noted that the plan has yet to be approved by federal officials.

LaRose’s letter came after the Ohio Supreme Court rejected the third set of legislative maps from the Ohio Redistricting Commission, forcing the committee to redraw the maps for the fourth time.

With the estimated cost of LaRose having two primaries being around an additional $20 million to $25 million for taxpayers, officials will have to decide, excluding any court order, whether or not to postpone the election or split it up into two — one being after the maps are approved.

Republicans reportedly held a call Thursday to discuss the possibilities but did not make any decision on the primary. At the same time, Democrats and voting rights groups have been pressed for the primary to be postponed.

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