Stillwater is the first stop in a statewide publicity tour from the group that is trying to get a state ballot initiative which would prevent lawmakers from deciding voting districts. People Not Politicians will be at the Stillwater Public Library, 6-8 p.m., on Nov. 4.
The group believes that the current method of redistricting allows for gerrymandering.
“Politicians shouldn’t get to pick their own voters,” said Andy Moore, executive director of People Not Politicians. “This proposal is an important step to hold politicians accountable so they can focus less on their own political gain and actually start focusing on solving our state’s problems. We look forward to meeting with people all over our state who agree that the people will be able to better draw their legislative and congressional districts to represent them, not politicians who only want to get re-elected.”
The goal is a citizen-led commission to oversee redistricting.
“As it stands right now, Oklahoma politicians are allowed to redraw their own districts behind closed doors, essentially allowing them to pick their own voters,” Virginia Bracken Awtrey, co-president of League of Women Voters Stillwater Chapter, said in the group’s news release. “Creating an independent commission is a common-sense solution that will help create a more perfect democracy and I encourage anyone who wants to see our state become a better place to attend this event and learn more.”
Oklahoma House Speaker Charles McCall told CNHI’s Janelle Stecklein he didn’t think it was a necessary proposal.
“Our process works,” McCall said. “It is based on the numbers, the law and the expertise of the people in the districts.”
The group will have to collect signatures and pass legal scrutiny, but a successful campaign could land its state question on the 2020 ballot. Redistricting efforts follow Census counts. The data needed for redistricting would arrive by spring 2021.