Oklahoma high court says redistricting petition can go ahead
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A group that wants a bipartisan commission, instead of state lawmakers, to redraw Oklahoma’s legislative and congressional districts may proceed with its initiative petition, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.
The high court said the petition by the group People Not Politicians is legally sufficient to submit to Oklahoma voters.
It’s still unclear when the group can begin gathering the nearly 178,000 signatures required to qualify the state question for the ballot; signature-gathering petitions have been suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Republican legislative leaders have fiercely opposed the plan, and several plaintiffs sued to stop the initiative from moving forward.
“This is a huge win for the people of Oklahoma,” People Not Politicians Executive Director Andy Moore said in a statement. “We look forward to ending gerrymandering in our state once and for all.”
Under the plan, the power to draw both legislative and federal congressional districts would be transferred from the Legislature to a bipartisan nine-member commission. The commission would include an equal number of Republicans, Democrats and members unaffiliated with either party, and they would be selected by a group of retired state Supreme Court and appellate judges.