Oklahoma House, Senate unveil redistricting plans
Under the plan, which still must be approved by the House and Senate and signed by the governor, no incumbents would be forced to run against each other. Two members who are term limited, Rep. Sean Roberts in House District 36 and Sen. Kim David in Senate District 18, will have their districts moved entirely.
The districts were drawn more compactly, and fewer districts will have a mix of urban, suburban and rural areas, said Rep. Ryan Martinez, a Republican from Edmond who chaired the House Redistricting Committee.
“There has been a massive shift in population to urban and suburban areas from rural Oklahoma,” Martinez said.
Martinez said voter registration wasn’t considered as a factor in drawing the districts.
Because the 2020 census data has not yet been released, the maps released on Wednesday were drawn using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2015-2019 American Community Survey. The ideal population was 38,939 for each House district and 81,935 for each Senate district, although state law allows for a variance of up to 5%.
Martinez said the three majority African American districts and one majority Hispanic district were all retained.
Lawmakers are expected to return for a special session in the fall to redraw the state’s five congressional districts after the 2020 census data is released.
The group People Not Politicians had launched an initiative petition effort in October 2019 to seek a public vote on transferring the power to draw legislative boundaries from the Legislature to a bipartisan commission. But that plan was scuttled in September after legal challenges and then coronavirus-related delays in signature gathering.