A controversial bill setting new election district boundaries in Ohio has passed the state legislature and is set to signed by Governor John Kasich.
Though redistricting was necessary due to population loss, critics of the new boundaries say they will give an unfair advantage to Republican candidates. The new maps were drawn up by a five-member apportionment board comprised of four Republicans, including Kasich, and one Democrat.
In passing the measure, the Ohio Senate added a provision to provide $2.75 million to assist local elections boards in implementing the new boundaries. This stymied Democratic efforts to launch a repeal effort, due to an Ohio law stating that bills apportioning money take immediate effect.
However, Prof. Daniel Tokaji of Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law told The Associated Press that the redistricting portion of the bill might still be eligible for voter referendum, separate from the apportionment provision.
If the bill is passed, Cincinnati.com says, "it's more likely Democratic voters may be represented by a Republican or at least live in a district that leans more Republican than it used to."
Republicans in other states are seeking to change election laws in advance of the 2012 presidential contest. In Pennyslvania and Nebraska, for example, efforts are under way to change the way electoral votes are awarded.