OKLAHOMA CITY — People Not Politicians, a coalition of concerned Oklahomans who want to end gerrymandering by taking power away from politicians and bringing it back to the people, filed an initiative petition today. The petition aims to establish an independent and transparent process for determining the state’s legislative and congressional voting districts. The measure would replace current law that allows politicians and special interests to manipulate voting districts to guarantee their reelection and strike a blow to partisan gerrymandering — a little trick politicians use to keep themselves in office.
“This proposal will prevent self-serving politicians from manipulating the system and force them to listen to the people they represent instead of pandering to special interests and their party's extremes,” said Andy Moore, founder and executive director of Let's Fix This, a grassroots organization to get regular, everyday people involved in politics. “Oklahoma's politicians have failed us. The state has real problems that the politicians have done nothing to fix. Our roads and bridges are crumbling, our hospitals are closing, our teachers are leaving and our schools are falling behind. This proposal is an important step to hold politicians accountable so they actually start focusing on solving our important problems.”
Current Oklahoma law allows members of the state Legislature to redraw their own districts behind closed doors, and without any oversight or input from the public. Essentially, this allows Oklahoma politicians to hand-pick their own voters.
If passed by Oklahoma voters, the ballot measure would create an independent, neutral and citizen-led redistricting commission to ensure our district lines are drawn in the best interest of the people, not politicians. All work by the commission would be conducted in the open, in full view of the public.
“By making politicians more accountable to voters, this proposal will force them to actually start focusing on finding solutions to the problems facing Oklahoma, like our struggling schools, our crumbling roads and closing hospitals,” said Jan Largent, president of the League of Women Voters of Oklahoma. “Oklahomans deserve to have fair and equal representation across the state, and partisan gerrymandering is keeping that from happening. This initiative will create more competitive elections, which will force politicians to be responsive to the needs of average citizens and start fixing many of the state’s real problems.”
The next step for People Not Politicians is to gather 177,958 voter signatures to qualify for the November 2020 ballot. To learn more about People Not Politicians and how to get involved, visit www.peoplenotpoliticians.org.
People Not Politicians is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to ending gerrymandering in Oklahoma and ensuring that legislative and congressional districts are drawn in a fair and transparent manner. For more information, visit www.peoplenotpoliticians.org.
Let’s Fix This was founded in 2016 as a grassroots effort to get regular, everyday people involved in politics. The mission is to make politics more interesting, accessible, useful, and easier to understand for regular, everyday people. Through information, engagement, accessibility and change, Let’s Fix This aims to make politics better. For more information, visit www.letsfixthisok.org.
The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization encouraging informed and active participation in government. It influences public policy through education and advocacy. The League of Women Voters does not support any political party or candidate. For more information, visit www.lwvok.org.