The House and Senat both passed legislative and congressional redistricting plans in special session the week of Nov. 15-19. The bills have been signed into law by the governor.
As required by the Oklahoma Constitution, district boundaries must be redrawn every 10 years following the U.S. Census for the 101 House and 48 state Senate seats as well as for the state’s five Congressional Districts. The goal of redistricting is to ensure equal numbers of constituents in each district after population shifts. This year’s data was delayed forcing the need for special session.
The new map for our House District 38 adds more population from Garfield and Logan counties. In Garfield County, the districts adds area in Enid and New Enid, taking in the majority of the Kremlin-Hillsdale and Chisholm School Districts. In Logan County, HD 38 will extend further south of the Cimarron River and add population from areas within and around Cedar Valley.
District 38 will have less of Noble County. Residents living south of Highway 15 in Red Rock and Sumner will become constituents of HD 35, when the district lines take effect next November. There are minimal changes to the district compared to what was enacted in May. Overall, HD 38 will continue to represent the interest of five counties: Garfield, Grant, Kay, Logan and Noble.
Both the legislative and congressional plans passed each chamber with large majorities, though there was some debate in the House over the congressional redistricting map. The controversy mostly centered around the redrawing of Oklahoma County. The county is currently split between three congressional districts, and the new map keeps that division but redraws boundary lines to include more rural populations.
I rose to debate on this issue because I’m a firm believer that rural voices should be combined with urban and suburban when possible. We want all Oklahomans to have an equal voice at both the state and the nation’s Capitols. Our new map accomplishes this.
Our House District 38 remains in Congressional District 3, currently served by Rep. Frank Lucas.
Also during the special session, we approved bills that move the candidate residency and party affiliation deadline for the 2022 election only to Dec. 31 this year. By statute, candidates are required to have lived in a district and been a registered voter for six months prior to the first day of filing, which in 2022 is April 13. That would have meant a candidate would have had to be a resident of a district in which they intend to file by Oct. 13 of this year. Because redistricting had not been finalized, the deadline was extended to year end.
It’s worth noting that the House and Senate held more than 30 public meetings and took public map submissions to accomplish the task of redistricting this year. This is more public meetings than have ever been held in this process. Nonpartisan legislative staff and attorneys were an invaluable help in the process, and I’m confident we passed the best plan for Oklahoma for the next decade.
If I can do anything to help or to get you information, please feel free to reach out to my office at (405) 557-7332 or email me at email@example.com.