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Democratic Senator Challenges District Map (Jul 07, 2011)

OKLAHOMA CITY - State Senator Jim Wilson is filing a lawsuit with the Oklahoma Supreme Court challenging the Senate redistricting plan signed into law earlier this year.

The Tahlequah Democrat wants the court to reject the new map and require the districts to be redrawn.

Wilson maintains the Senate redistricting plan violates a constitutional amendment that says, when possible, consideration should be given to maintaining economic and political boundaries in a district, compactness, and contiguous territories.

“It turns out the state of Oklahoma defines Senate redistricting in the constitution, unlike the House redistricting or the Congressional redistricting,” Wilson said. “So now we have parameters by which we can decide if we violated the rules. Now we don’t have to go very far to know that as we were dealing with redistricting.”

Wilson, who is term limited, cites among others, the split of cities like Yukon and Warr Acres as examples of violations.

University of Oklahoma political science professor Keith Gaddy didn’t address the merits of the case, but did say Wilson’s concerns are usually secondary to maintaining roughly equally populations across the districts.

“The treatment of political subdivisions like counties and cities is a traditional redistricting principle,” Gaddy said. “However it’s usually considered a secondary principle behind equal population and the fair treatment of racial minorities.”

This is the first challenge of a Senate redistricting plan in the state’s history.

by Logan Layden


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