Group Mounts Ballot Effort to Remove Legislature from Redistricting Process
By Trevor Brown, Oklahoma Watch
A newly formed group is seeking a state constitutional change that would strip the Legislature of its power to rewrite the state’s legislative and congressional boundaries when redistricting work begins after the 2020 Census.
Represent Oklahoma Inc., which is applying to be a social welfare nonprofit and has launched a website, has set a $400,000 fundraising goal to put a state question on the 2018 ballot that would let voters decide whether to transfer redistricting duties to an independent, nonpartisan commission.
Rico Smith, executive director of the group, said the goal is to take politics out of the process by preventing any party in power from drawing the lines in a way that gives an advantage to their party or a candidate. Six states have independent redistricting commissions, including Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana and Washington.
“When we allow the Legislature to draw its own lines, we are saying that citizens’ voices don’t matter,” he said. “This isn’t about party. This is about representing the peoples’ interests.”