Citing legislative efforts to create a transparent redistricting process, supporters of independent redistricting withdrew Tuesday an initiative petition seeking to take away state legislators’ power to draw legislative and congressional districts.
But the leader of the group that sought to form an independent redistricting commission in Oklahoma vowed to refile the petition if legislators don’t follow through on their promises to keep redistricting open and transparent.
Andy Moore, executive director of People Not Politicians, said the group will do everything it can to hold the GOP-led Legislature accountable through the redistricting process that will begin this year and conclude in new district maps next year.
“It’s a sad truth that politicians are famous for promising one thing and doing another,” he said. “Here, the Legislature has promised an open and fair redistricting process, and we must hold them accountable. If we allow them to break the promises they have made, then we risk being drawn into maps that continue to prioritize partisan rhetoric over good governance and what’s best for the people of Oklahoma.”
Oklahoma’s Legislature redraws the state’s legislative and congressional districts every decade following the U.S. Census.
Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, and House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, opposed the petition that sought to ask Oklahoma voters to approve the formation of an independent redistricting commission made up of non-elected officials of various political persuasions.
Saying the petition was flawed, Treat said he wasn’t surprised People Not Politicians withdrew the measure. The petition, which would have appeared on the ballot as State Question 815, was facing a legal challenge in the Oklahoma Supreme Court.
“Regardless of what some may say, the redistricting process in Oklahoma is not broken,” Treat said. “Senators take our responsibility seriously to uphold the constitution. That is why we are soliciting the public’s input and taking steps in our process to ensure the public’s important role in redistricting.”