Oklahoma reformers seek multi-partisan redistricting commission
A redistricting reform group is petitioning for Oklahoma's legislative and congressional maps to be drawn by a multi-partisan commission.
Through the petition, filed Monday, People Not Politicians aims to take the partisanship out of Oklahoma's mapmaking process. Currently, districts are drawn by the Republican-controlled Legislature and approved by the governor, who is also a Republican.
People Not Politicians is a bipartisan coalition of redistricting reformers, headed by the League of Women Voters of Oklahoma and Let's Fix This. The group will have 90 days to collect almost 178,000 signatures to have this redistricting commission measure placed before voters on the ballot in 2020.
If successful, the nine-person commission would consist of non-elected members from multiple political parties. Six of the members would be chosen by a panel of retired state judges, led by the chief justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court. These six would then select the remaining members. Three of the commissioners would be Democrats, three Republicans and three would be unaffiliated with either major party.
Oklahoma joins a growing number of states seeking nonpartisan control of redistricting ahead of the 2020 Census. Last year, five states — Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio and Utah — passed legislation to reform their mapmaking process.
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The online survey conducted in September asked voters whether seven different issues were an "extremely serious problem" for the country, and the only one where a majority said yes was political corruption; rising health care costs came in second at 49 percent.
The poll is only the latest to declare the electorate's dire concern about the broken political system. In just the last month, two-thirds of voters told one poll they believe the country is on the "edge of a civil war" and a plurality in another poll identified the government itself as the country's biggest problem.
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The focus on Michigan voting laws by the super PAC Priorities USA reflects the importance of the state's 16 electoral votes in the 2020 presidential election. President Trump won Michigan, a swing state, by less than half a percentage point in 2016.
The latest lawsuit, filed Friday in state court, challenges actions taken after a successful 2018 ballot initiative expanded voting options, such as allowing people to register to vote at any time (including on Election Day). It also automatically registered people to vote when they obtained or renewed their driver's licenses.