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State officials detail cost of redistricting issues as voter registration deadline looms

Deadline to register to vote is April 4. Early voting begins April 5.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — While the Ohio Supreme Court is sorting out issues with redistricting maps, boards of elections are getting ready for early voting to start next week. Some voting advocates are concerned that the lack of a resolution yet on redistricting may result in voter confusion and impact voter turnout.

A new set of proposed boundaries is in the hands of the Ohio Supreme Court, but it's not the maps state funding paid independent map makers to create.

Mapmakers Dr. Michael McDonald and Dr. Douglas Johnson have yet to submit invoices for their work, but they'll be paid $450 an hour each for four long days of work, preparation, time spent in meetings, and travel expenses.

This comes as the May 3 primary nears. Boards of elections are rushing to print ballots without any state senate or house races.

"We're putting the finishing touches on the actual ballots themselves," said Aaron Sellers, public information officer for the Franklin County Board of Elections.

Another deadline, voter registration is next Monday, April 4. Traditionally, voter turnout is lower during primary and mid-term elections. Members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated are concerned that the redistricting issue may impact voter turnout this year.

"We will continue to be a voice for the community in stating that all people within our communities deserve the right to be fairly represented in our congressional district maps," said Luke Fedlam, Chapter President for Columbus's Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Alumni chapter. 

The group gathered at the statehouse on Wednesday. They run a year-long national program, "a voteless people is a hopeless people" to make sure people are educated about upcoming elections.

"Understanding not just the elected officials that are at the top of the ticket but understanding the judges and those other positions that have a direct impact on our communities. That's why it's so important that we continue to focus on voter registration and get those numbers up," Fedlam said.

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