State Sen. Matt Huffman still wants bipartisan support for a legislative plan to repair the way U.S. House districts are drawn in Ohio. On Tuesday, the Lima Republican rightly described anything less as a “fool’s errand.” Now he and his colleagues in the Republican majorities at the Statehouse must find a middle way to bring Democratic lawmakers on board if they want to meet the Feb. 7 filing deadline for the May ballot.

They tried on Monday, Huffman unveiling changes to his initial plan. The altered proposal requires the support of a larger share of the minority in the legislature. It does more to limit the splitting of counties. It allows citizens to mount a referendum in response and adds helpful flexibility in setting population levels for districts.

All of that is better than the current process for redrawing congressional districts. Few rules now apply. Thus, in 2011, after the most recent census, the Republican majorities engaged in extreme gerrymandering. They practically locked into place a 12-4 advantage in the U.S. House delegation from ordinarily battleground Ohio.

How to make the districts more competitive and thus House members more attuned to the compromise required for effective governing? Huffman and colleagues would do well to acknowledge what already has been conceded.

Many critics do not want state lawmakers to get first crack at drawing the lines. They prefer the bipartisan commission (of politicians, still) that voters overwhelmingly approved in 2015 for legislative redistricting. The coalition Fair Districts=Fair Elections has its eye on the November ballot with just such an approach.

More, as much as Democrats and allies want to see the concept of “representational fairness” included, they know it is a nonstarter for Republicans and thus off the table. Too bad, it is worth adding, that state Sen. Bill Coley insists on distorting the idea. As a guideline, it would assist in discouraging lawmakers from straying too far from historical voting patterns.

Nearly everyone gets that given the political landscape of the state, some districts will lean heavily either Democratic or Republican. The aim of any credible repair effort involves maximizing the number of competitive districts. Currently, the number is zero. Deliver a handful, and that would be an achievement.

How? Craft language that strives to keep counties whole.

The Huffman plan allows for too much splitting of more populous counties, or too much room for the “packing” and “cracking” of constituencies by partisan operatives armed with increasingly sophisticated data and software. As the plan is, Republicans easily could arrive at districts close to the current gross gerrymandering.

Which gets to another area for concession — Huffman and colleagues committing to a genuinely bipartisan process, in which both sides participate and lines are not drawn to favor one party over another. If Republicans are ready to take such steps, then a productive compromise would be in sight.