OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A group that was seeking to redraw voting districts across the state has been hit with a roadblock by the Oklahoma Supreme Court.
In November, organizers with ‘People not Politicians’ announced that they wanted to create a citizens redistricting commission.
“We are seeking to end gerrymandering in Oklahoma,” People not Politicians Executive Director Andy Moore told KFOR.
Gerrymandering occurs when district boundaries are redrawn in hopes of giving one political candidate the edge over another. The boundaries, which are based on population, are currently 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.
Instead, the group said a nine-person panel that was split evenly between Democrats, Republicans, and Independents should be the one to draw the lines.
“Oklahomans should be in charge of drawing those districts in a way that represents the people of Oklahoma,” Moore said.
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.”
However, it seems the organization has hit a roadblock.
The Oklahoma Supreme Court declared the petition invalid because the summary didn't "fairly describe" the proposal.
“I’m pleased with the court’s ruling. This is nothing more than a power grab by out-of-state liberal activists. As I have said before, the Senate will handle this job in a professional and thorough manner. The Senate will announce more details soon about its redistricting process,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City.
Legislative redistricting takes place every 10 years following the release of U.S. Census data.
Organizers say they plan to refile the petition.
We appreciate the Court recognizing what we knew to be true all along - that our petition is constitutional. While this ruling changes nothing about our movement, we will follow the Court’s helpful guidance in rewriting the gist and we will refile our petition immediately. Oklahoma voters deserve the chance to vote on this measure and end partisan gerrymandering once and for all," Moore said.