Petition drive on redistricting vote fails

BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Published: December 29, 2011
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An effort to let voters decide on creating a new way to redraw legislative boundaries has failed.

Sen. Jim Wilson, a Democratic senator upset with how the GOP-controlled Senate came up with this year's Senate redistricting plan, came up short of the required number of signatures of registered voters to get his initiative petition proposal on the ballot. His idea would have required lawmakers to draw new maps to have in place for the 2014 elections.

Wilson, D-Tahlequah, said he obtained about 20,000 signatures to get the issue on the 2012 general election ballot. He needed about 83,000 signatures.

The deadline to get the required signatures was Monday, Wilson said. State offices were closed Monday and Tuesday, making Wednesday the last chance to meet the required deadline.

“It was hard getting circulators out there,” Wilson said Wednesday. “Apparently in this business you need to pay the people to circulate them.”

Circulators usually charge $1 or $2 for each signature they obtain, he said.

“I didn't have any money to do that,” Wilson said. “Volunteers mean well and a lot of them did pretty good, but I just didn't have that kind of numbers.”

Wilson filed his petition in early September, and didn't have petitions available for people attending the Oklahoma State Fair. Petitions were available during the Tulsa State Fair a week later, but he didn't have a booth.

The intent of his proposal was to seek a state law that would set guidelines for redistricting House, Senate and congressional districts on a nonpartisan basis and focus on keeping counties and cities together as much as possible. If voters approved the proposal in 2012, it would have required new maps by 2013 in time for the 2014 elections.

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