Oklahoma

State website: State House, State Senate
2010-cycle districts: Congress, State Senate, State House  « NEW 
2000-cycle districts: Congress, State Senate, State House
Primary governing law: Okla. Const. art. V, §§ 9A, 11A

The Latest

Congress: On May 4, 2011, the legislature passed HB 1527, which was signed into law by the governor on May 10, 2011.

State leg.: On May 16, the legislature passed HB 2145 (state House lines) and SB 821 (state Senate lines); both were signed into law by the governor on May 20, 2011. The state Senate plan was challenged in court, but those challenges were rejected.

  • Institution

    Redistricting political control:

    Governor State Senate State House
    Congressional lines R 16 D, 32 R 31 D, 70 R
    (could override veto)
    State legislative lines R 16 D, 32 R 31 D, 70 R
    (could override veto)
    2000 cong. lines R 30 D, 18 R 52 D, 48 R
    2000 state lines R 30 D, 18 R 52 D, 48 R

    Oklahoma's congressional lines are drawn by the state legislature, as a regular statute, subject to gubernatorial veto. The members of the state House committee responsible for redistricting are listed here; the members of the state Senate committee are listed here.

    The legislature is also primarily responsible for drawing state legislative lines. If it fails to pass a plan, authority falls to an seven-member backup commission, newly in place in 2010. The Lieutenant Governor is the nonvoting chair of the commission; the Governor, state Senate majority leader, and state House majority leader each choose one Republican and one Democrat to serve as commissioners. [Okla. Const. art. V, § 11A]

    The Oklahoma Supreme Court has original jurisdiction to hear challenges to state legislative plans in state court. [Okla. Const. art. V, § 11C]


  • Timing

    Census data were delivered to Oklahoma on February 14, 2011.

    Oklahoma state law does not impose a particular deadline for drawing congressional lines, though candidates must file for congressional primary elections by June 6, 2012. [Okla. Stat. tit. 26 § 5-110]

    The legislature's deadline for drawing state legislative lines is 90 legislative days after the start of the first regular session following the census, which began on February 7, 2011. If the legislature fails to pass a plan by then, the backup commission will be convened. [Okla. Const. art. V, § 11A] Candidates must file for state legislative primary elections by June 6, 2012. [Okla. Stat. tit. 26 § 5-110]

    Oklahoma ties the drawing of state legislative lines to the Census, and might therefore be construed to prohibit redrawing lines mid-decade; there is no similar provision pertaining to congressional lines. [Okla. Const. art. V, § 11A]


  • Criteria

    Like all states, Oklahoma must comply with constitutional equal population requirements; the redistricting committee of the state House has set further guidelines asking that state House districts deviate no more than 3% from the average population, except where necessary to accommodate a political boundary. The legislature may alter these guidelines as it wishes.

    Oklahoma must also, like all states, comply with section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

    The state constitution provides that in drawing state Senate lines, "consideration shall be given to population, compactness, area, political units, historical precedents, economic and political interests, contiguous territory, and other major factors, to the extent feasible." [Okla. Const. art. V, § 9A]

    The redistricting committee of the state House has adopted what it characterizes as similar guidelines, asking that state House and congressional districts be contiguous and reflect county and municipal boundaries that coincide with physical features; where not in conflict with those principles, consideration will be given to draw districts that are compact and that preserve "long-standing communities of interest based on social, cultural, ethnic, and economic similarities." The committee has also declared that it may "seek to preserve the core of existing districts," and that it may consider the residence of incumbents. The legislature may alter these guidelines as it wishes.


  • 2010 cycle cases

    Duffee v. State Question 748, No. O-109127 (Okla. Sup. Ct.): a challenge to the state's backup commission, passed by initiative in 2010 and specifying a role for the Democratic and Republican parties, rather than simply the state's largest two parties.
    The latest: On February 28, 2011, the Oklahoma Supreme Court declined to take original jurisdiction in the case. The case will proceed, if at all, through the trial courts first.

    Wilson v. Fallin, No. O-109652 (Okla. Sup. Ct.): a challenge in state court to the state Senate reapportionment, on state constitutional grounds.
         - Petition for review and accompanying brief (July 7, 2011).
    The latest: On September 1, the Oklahoma Supreme Court dismissed the challenge, finding its own original jurisdiction limited to review of state legislative plans on the basis of equal population alone. Any further challenge to the state Senate reapportionment on other grounds must proceed through the trial courts first. The court's opinion leaves it unclear whether, in such challenges, the state constitutional requirement to consider factors like compactness and economic and political interests is an independently justiciable mandate.

    Wilson v. Oklahoma, No. CJ-2011-6249 (Okla. Dist. Ct., Oklahoma County) & No. SD-110042 (Okla. Sup. Ct.): a challenge in state court to the state Senate reapportionment, on state constitutional grounds.
         - Trial court
              - Petition (Sept. 6, 2011).
              - Intervenor Bingman's motion to dismiss (Sept. 12).
              - Intervenor state House motion to dismiss (Sept. 21).
              - Entry of judgment dismissing case (Oct. 25).
         - Oklahoma Supreme Court
              - Appellant's petition in error (Nov. 1).
              - Response by Sec. Ziriax, Sen. Bingman, state House (Nov. 21).
              - Opinion affirming trial court and rejecting challenge (Jan. 17).
    The latest: On October 11, the trial court dismissed the case. On January 17, the state Supreme Court affirmed, finding that the state constitution requires only that the legislature consider factors like compactness and the preservation of political units to the extent feasible, and holding that the challenge had not alleged a deficiency in the extent to which the legislature considered such factors.


  • 2000 cycle

    In the 2000 redistricting cycle, the Oklahoma legislature enacted a state Senate plan that was signed on May 23, 2001; and a state House plan that was signed on May 24, 2001.

    It did not, however, enact a congressional plan, and on May 31, 2002, a state trial court drew the lines following the Governor's proposal. The congressional plan was challenged in state and federal court, and upheld. [Alexander v. Taylor, 51 P.3d 1204 (Okla. 2002); Edwards v. Keating, No. 5:02-cv-00306 (W.D. Okla. 2002)]

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