State Question 810 Redistricting Petition Formally Withdrawn

 

August 6, 2020

Proponents of State Question 810 said they’ve voluntarily withdrawn their initiative petition due to issues with timing, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to records from the Secretary of State’s office, the petition was formally withdrawn on July 14.

State Question 810 was a petition initiative aimed at changing Oklahoma’s legislative redistricting process. Currently, legislators themselves draw the legislative districts every ten years following the completion of the census. The coalition behind the initiative is led by the non-profit organization People Not Politicians.

The executive director of People Not Politicians, Andy Moore, said the decision to withdraw the petition was made largely due to issues of timing, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“That’s effectively the reason we decided to withdraw,” Moore said.

He said the signature collection date had been set for July 3, and there wasn’t enough time to get everything done before the Aug. 24 ballot-printing deadline.

“That’s less than two months,” Moore said. “And at the same time, you know, cases are spiking. It’s clearly not the right environment to be out there trying to ask people to sign a petition.”

Moore said that in order to make the November ballot, signatures would have to be collected, turned in, counted, and validated by the ballot-printing deadline. In addition to the difficulties of the actual signature collection process, he said there would potentially be further legal challenges before the measure could go on the ballot.


Despite this setback, Moore said People Not Politicians would continue to push for reforms to Oklahoma’s redistricting process.

“Oklahomans deserve to have fair maps, and we know the people want it,” Moore said.

In a news release on July 17, Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, said Oklahoma’s process for legislative redistricting wasn’t broken, and didn’t need to be fixed.

“Democrats never complained about redistricting until Republicans were in charge,” Treat said in the statement. “Their complaints are now a totally transparent attempt by liberals and progressives to try and gain a political edge in Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Senate will continue to carry out its redistricting responsibilities in a professional and thorough manner.”

According to its website, People Not Politicians is a non-partisan organization.

“We are Republicans, Democrats, and Independents who believe districts should be drawn fairly with public input,” the website reads.

Despite the fact that redistricting will not be handled by an independent commission in 2021, Moore said his coalition will be closely monitoring the situation, and getting involved however possible.

“I think at the end of the day, our goal is still to get independent redistricting on the ballot as soon as we can,” Moore said. “It just won’t be in November.”

 

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