Commissioners approve county redistricting boundaries

·3 min read

Sep. 20—Pittsburg County commissioners passed a resolution Monday approving their district boundaries for another decade.

Most boundaries will remain the same, with the exception of one that's been officially added to District 1 Commissioner Charlie Rogers's coverage area.

Rogers said the area involves a relatively small area along Franklin Road, about five miles west of Canadian.

"District 1 always maintained the road," Rogers said.

Rogers said he already included that area in his road maintenance coverage because the road served as a boundary line between District 1 and District 3. He went ahead and covered it, since it would not have been feasible for both districts to maintain one-half of the road, Rogers said.

Monday's action means voters living within the affected area are now officially within the boundaries of District 1.

"They asked to be in District 1," Rogers said. He said residents told him they wanted to be able to vote for him, since he is the one who maintains roads the roads in that area.

Redistricting requirements include a mandate that all three of the count commission districts' populations could be in compliance by being within 5% of each other.

Rogers said District 1's population decreased by 584 individuals from 2010 to 2020, according to information provided by the state House Redistricting Office from the 2020 Census. That represents a 4% reduction for District 1.

District 2 showed a population increase of 340, which is a 2.33% increase in the area covered by District 2 Commissioner Kevin Smith.

District 3 showed a population increase of 244, which is 1.67% higher than the population shown in the previous 2010 Census for the area covered by District 3 Commissioner Ross Selman.

Rogers said District 1 may have lost some numbers because there are a number of summer or vacation residences along Lake Eufaula in northern Pittsburg County, including the Longtown area, whose owners have a primary residence in places such as Oklahoma City and Tulsa, and they most likely answered their Census questions citing their primary home address.

The resolution commissioners passed Monday notes state law requires each county in Oklahoma to be divided into three districts, as equal in population as is practical.

A requirement of the county commissioner districts is they follow "clearly visible, definable and observable physical boundaries.

Also, the Voting Rights Act and subsequent legal opinions have held that the County Commissioner District's populations may be compliance by being within 5% of each other, the resolution states.

To meet that requirement, the commissioners' districts now have the following populations, according to the resolution passed Monday:

—District 1 has a population of 14,021 individuals.

—District 2's population is 14,931 individuals.

—District 3 has a population consisting of 14,821 individuals.

Commissioners noted in their resolution the populations of the districts still fall within the required 5% range of each other.

County commissioners faced a Nov. 30 deadline for any reapportionment, following the publication of the Federal Decennial Census. They voted unanimously to adopt the resolution setting the district's boundaries through 2031, when they will have to be considered again based on the results of the 2030 Census.

Contact James Beaty at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com.

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