It’s just over two weeks until Oklahoma lawmakers return to the State Capitol for a special session to re-write the state’s legislative and congressional districts.

But the GOP-led Legislature has yet to unveil its proposed maps for the public to review, analyze and offer feedback.

States across the country are scrambling to complete the once-every-decade work since a delay in getting the data from the U.S. Census Bureau prevented most states, including Oklahoma, from finishing the work earlier this year.

A tally from FiveThirtyEight finds that Oklahoma is one of just 19 states that haven’t released their formal redistricting proposals, Lawmakers in charge of the redistricting work say the maps should be out soon as time is running out until the Nov. 15 special session begins.

But one of the things we have seen is the 10 public map submissions that the Legislature reviewed this past week. You can read my article on Oklahoma Watch about how many of these proposals could shift Oklahoma’s political dynamics, specifically in the 5th Congressional District, for the next decade.

In addition to the article, I created a couple of interactive data visualizations, using a free tool from Northwestern University’s Knight Lab that makes it easy to compare the current maps to the proposals.

I received good feedback from the two public map submissions that I used so I figured I would do this for all 10 of the public map submissions.

So for each link below, move the line to see the difference between Oklahoma’s current congressional district map and a proposal submitted to the state Legislature by a member of the public. Guide: Blue (1st District); Green (2nd District); Purple (3rd District); Red (4th District); Yellow (5th District).

But I want to know what you think? What maps do you like, or dislike? Or are you watching any specifically when the Legislature releases its proposals? Send me your thoughts at or find me on Twitter at @tbrownokc.

The Top Story

A judge’s chair is seen in an empty courtroom in the Cleveland County Courthouse. (Whitney Bryen/Oklahoma Watch). Credit: Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

Breaking Down a Proposal to Standardize Criminal Sentencing in Oklahoma

The debate over a proposal to standardize Oklahoma’s complex criminal code is heating up, with justice reform advocates arguing it would cause the state prison population to creep up over the next decade. 

Unlike most states, including neighboring Kansas and Arkansas, Oklahoma doesn’t classify felonies by severity. Lawmakers have instead opted to add and remove crimes and their sentencing ranges individually, resulting in a winding list of offenses in the Oklahoma Statutes

But Oklahoma Watch‘s Keaton Ross reports that lawmakers have instead opted to add and remove crimes and their sentencing ranges individually, resulting in a winding list of offenses in the Oklahoma Statutes.  [Read More …]

Tweet Watch

Dr. Lance Frye, who has led Oklahoma’s COVID-19 pandemic response over the past several months, abruptly announced his resignation Friday afternoon as Oklahoma’s health commissioner.

Neither the Health Department nor the governor’s office gave a reason for Frye’s departure on Friday. But the news comes a day after his agency was criticized by Gov. Kevin Stitt and other Republican leaders for agreeing to a settlement in a lawsuit that would permit nonbinary gender designations on state-issued birth certificates.

What I’m Reading This Week

  • The ACLU and a group of multiracial advocacy organizations and educators have sued state officials over the constitutionality of a new law that restricts discussions on race and gender in school in an attempt to ban “critical race theory” teachings in public schools. [Duncan Banner]
  • Gov. Kevin Stitt and GOP members of the Oklahoma Legislature want to prevent the State Health Department from issuing gender neutral birth certificates after the agency issued this month the state’s first nonbinary birth marker. [The Oklahoman]
  • Although COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are trending down in Oklahoma, health leaders say their nursing staff is walking out the door. [KOCO].
  • Oklahoma lawmaker pay will remain the 15th highest in the nation, an eight-member legislative compensation board decided Tuesday. [Norman Transcript]
  • A recent survey indicates that school employees are contracting COVID-19 at a higher rate than the average Oklahoman. [Tulsa World]

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