After the conclusion of the 2020 census last month, the Legislature is beginning the process of redistricting! Redistricting is when the Legislature draws new boundaries for House and Senate seats. These are decided based on population change found through the 2020 census, and the new legislative seats will remain the same for a decade until the 2030 census.
Redrawing legislative seats after population changes ensures that each legislator represents roughly the same number of constituents and that your voice is adequately represented at the Capitol!
When Oklahoma became a state in 1907, the Oklahoma House had 109 members. At the time, no county could constitutionally be represented by more than seven representatives. The Senate apportionment plan provided for 33 Senate districts. Throughout our history, the number of state legislative and congressional members has fluctuated.
However, the Legislature didn’t adjust the boundaries much following the census every decade. As the population shifted from rural to urban areas, this created an imbalance that caused rural areas to have greater legislative representation than growing rural areas.
In 1964, the U.S. Supreme Court found that the Oklahoma Legislature at the time was either unable or unwilling to redistrict itself fairly and efficiently. As a result, the U.S. District Court redistricted both chambers of the Oklahoma Legislature.
After this judicial intervention, legislators added provisions to the state constitution to ensure regular redistricting of the Legislature.
These provisions require legislators to develop and enact redistricting plans for the House and Senate within 90 legislative days after the convening of the first regular session of the Legislature following each census.
If the Legislature fails to do so, the task falls to the Bipartisan Commission on Legislative Apportionment. Qualified electors have 60 days to challenge the plans after they are filed by submitting a petition with the Oklahoma Supreme Court. However, the Apportionment Commission has never been called upon to develop redistricting plans.
This year, all House members will serve on a redistricting committee that covers their part of the state. These committees will host multiple meetings, both in-person and virtual, to give the public the opportunity to voice their opinions about the redistricting process.
I have the privilege to serve as the committee vice chair for the north central region of the state. To date, we have one public meeting scheduled. It will be held in Chandler on Jan. 6, 2021 at 5:30 p.m. and will take place at the Route 66 Interpretive Center. The address for that location is 400 East 1st Street in Chandler.
If you’re able to attend, we want your input! If you’re not able to attend in person, we hope to have live-streaming available on our House website. Additionally, all Oklahomans can email email@example.com to provide feedback on the redistricting process.
Payne County has recently started offering Real IDs. Appointments must be made online through their website, stillwatertagagency.com, and are $4; however, they also have a few slots a day that are no charge and can be scheduled in the office. Any open slots may be filled with walk-ins, so if you make an appointment to receive your Real ID, it’s important you don’t miss your chance! For the time being, Fridays are first come, first serve.
As we continue the process of distributing Real IDs, please be patient! This is a new process. Officials are working out issues as they arise and are constantly reevaluating how they can make the system more efficient for everyone involved. I’m proud of Adam Hasenmyer and his team at the Stillwater Tag Agency for working so hard on this!
As always, please feel free to reach out to my office with any concerns or questions you may have at (405) 557-7304 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for allowing me to serve District 33!
Rep. John Talley, a Republican, serves District 33 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which covers Logan and Payne Counties.