Coalition working to end gerrymandering in Oklahoma begins tour of state

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma is known as one of the reddest states in the nation, but one group says it’s all in how you draw the lines.

The group behind the effort says they’re drawn by politicians who use gerrymandering to make sure each district has a republican-majority voting base.

People not Politicians wants to create a citizens independent redistricting commission saying they want to put the will of the people back into politics.

Left, right or somewhere in between. People from all sides of the aisle packed the Cole Community Center late Thursday evening with one goal in mind.

“We are seeking to end gerrymandering in Oklahoma,” said People not Politicians Executive Director Andy Moore.

Gerrymandering is when district boundaries are redrawn in hopes of giving one political candidate the edge over another. Boundaries, which are based on population, are drawn by Oklahoma’s republican-controlled legislature.

“The district you live in were drawn by somebody else for the intent for them to get reelected. That’s not fair,” Moore said.

They’re passing a petition around in hopes of giving a nine-person nonpartisan commission, made up of non-elected officials from different political parties, the power of drawing district lines. They say it’s a practice eight other states are already doing.

“Oklahomans should be in charge of drawing those districts in a way that represents the people of Oklahoma,” Moore said.

But Oklahoma lawmakers are fighting back. House Speaker Charles McCall calls the petition “convoluted” and “in search of a problem,” saying it would “make the system more complicated and less accountable to voters.”

The group is still waiting for the final okay from the secretary of state. If approved, they’ll have 90 days to collect almost 178,000 signatures to put the petition on the 2020 ballot.

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