Group Wants to Eliminate Gerrymandering in Oklahoma

Jan 4, 2018

With Oklahoma set to redraw its legislative districts in a few years, a group is pushing to get state lawmakers out of the process.

"We are guided by one simple principle, and that's that legislators should not be drawing their own legislative districts. When we look at the legislature now, we see a vastly unpopular body. Last time the polling was done, it said they had a 30 percent approval rating," said Represent Oklahoma Executive Director Rico Smith.

Represent Oklahoma is drafting an amendment to the state constitution that would create an independent, nonpartisan redistricting commission. Smith said the effort is not a reaction to how Oklahoma’s Republican-controlled legislature has performed recently.

"This is going to be applicable to any majority, whether it's Democratic, Republican, Libertarian or any other party that may exist in the future. This reform will hold them accountable, just like it will hold any present Republican majority accountable," Smith said.

Smith said fairly drawn districts will help end political gridlock by making it difficult for lawmakers with extreme views to get elected.

"We're going to get more moderate people who will look at the problems the state is facing and find solutions, common ground, that can fix those problems," Smith said.

To get a vote on the proposal this year, Represent Oklahoma needs 124,000 signatures by May 1.

Oklahoma's congressional and state legislative boundaries are redrawn the year after each census.