Stitt signs controversial new legislative, congressional district maps

The Associated Press - November 27, 2021 8:30 am

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt has signed into law newly drawn maps for congressional and state House and Senate districts. Stitt signed the the bills on Monday.

The maps include new district boundaries that will be in place for the next 10 years. The Republican-controlled Legislature redrew the boundaries and passed the bills during a special legislative session last week.

Democrats strongly opposed the newly drawn 5th Congressional District that has been competitive in recent years, with Democrats winning the seat as recently as 2018 before Republicans won it back last year.

The newly drawn district moves heavily Democratic portions of Oklahoma City’s core and south side into the heavily Republican 3rd Congressional District.

The label of gerrymandering has been applied to the move. Gerrymandering is a process of manipulating electoral boundaries so that a party with a minority of the votes in an area can claim a majority of the elected positions which govern that area.

For example: Oklahoma County would be a decisively Democrat district if it were in one district, but the new Congressional maps draw it into three different districts so each sliver of Democratic voters is outweighed by the predominantly Republican voters in Oklahoma’s rural areas.

Here is Oklahoma’s previous Congressional District map:

And here is the one proposed in 2021:

District 5 has expanded and part of Oklahoma County has been divided into District 3. This comes in addition to the portion of Oklahoma County that was already segmented into District 4. The other edges of the Districts stop at clean county lines, but the urban and suburban areas around Oklahoma City and Tulsa are divided into multiple Districts.

Federally, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the For the People Act have been discussed in the U.S. House and Senate as measures to limit gerrymandering, among other voting protections.

 

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