August 31, 2020
By News Director Jared Atha
In a historic move, all Oklahomans will have direct representation in the House of Representatives redistricting process after House Speaker Charles McCall appointed all House members to redistricting committees Monday.
According to a press release, eight regional redistricting subcommittees will go directly to the public to ask citizens how House districts should look for the next decade. In-person and virtual town halls, online submissions, citizen surveys and more will be used to gather extensive public input throughout the fall and winter ahead of the 2021 legislative session. Each House member will serve on a regional subcommittee.
Using the public’s input, subcommittees will produce regional maps used to build the statewide House district map.
Every ten years, the Oklahoma Constitution requires each legislative chamber to redraw its own districts and congressional districts following the release of decennial U.S. Census data.
The 2020 census count ends Sept. 30 and final data will be delivered to states in spring 2021, at which point the Legislature is constitutionally required to enact a redistricting plan for the next decade.
A standing House Redistricting Committee will receive each regional subcommittee’s plan and be responsible for producing a statewide map for consideration by the full House in the 2021 legislative session.
The full Redistricting Committee will be appointed after the seating of the 58th Legislature in November.
Following the 2010 Census, Oklahoma’s 101 House districts had a population target of 37,142 constituents per district. District populations are expected to grow after the conclusion of the 2020 Census.
To assist the redistricting committees, a House Redistricting Office has been established to provide technical support to the committees. As it was a decade ago, the office is comprised of nonpartisan, professional staffers with expertise in redistricting process, law, mapping and more.
While members can serve on one subcommittee only for voting purposes, they can participate in any regional subcommittee’s public input activities as they see fit based on the needs and requests of constituents.
Western Oklahoma representation includes Representatives Todd Russ of Cordell and Harold Wright of Weatherford as part of the Northwest regional subcommittee. Both representatives represent districts that are in multiple regions and are allowed to change regions if they chose to do so.