Sen. Pro Tempore, Greg Treat released the following statement on the withdraw of the petition initiative to end gerrymandering.
“The whole idea that redistricting in Oklahoma is broken is a made-up narrative from out-of-state liberals looking to turn Oklahoma into the next California. Democrats never complained about redistricting until Republicans were in charge. Their complaints now are 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.”
If that word “gerrymandering” sounds familiar, you probably learned it in grade school and haven’t heard it since. Gerrymandering is when politicians are in charge of the process of drawing their own district lines. Districts are redrawn every 10 years following the census. This act of allowing elected leaders to draw their own districts is problematic because they can effectively cut out areas which could threaten their re-election. And/or pull in areas that can help their re-election.
Look at this picture of House District 83:
And another, House District 92:
These are clear examples of gerrymandering. Our districts should be drawn according to population count, not political affiliation. When politicians get to draw their own lines, it steals our right as Oklahomans to fair and equal representation.
Pro Temp Treat’s statement is mostly full of divisive political pomp. He references California in an attempt to trigger Oklahomans who wish for our state to remain right-leaning. However, his statement that “Democrats never complained about redistricting until Republicans were in charge” is true. When Democrats were in charge it was the Republican Party demanding independent redistricting.
This is not a partisan issue. It’s a power issue. And whoever is in power, be it Republicans or Democrats, they want to keep it. That is why we need independent redistricting.
Initiate petition for SQ 801 would have given Oklahoma a chance to have a fair and independent redistricting committee, made up of equal parts, Democrat, Republican, and minority parties (such as independents, libertarian, etc…)
Due to a global pandemic, the powers that be won this battle, but the issue will not go away. We will continue to fight for a fair and equal democracy. I’ll leave you with a picture of House District 25:
If it looks like it’s giving you the middle finger, that’s because it probably is.