Canadian County accepts offer for redistricting help

Commissioners sign agreement with state House and Senate offices

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Canadian County Commission Chairman Jack Stewart

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

EL RENO – Canadian County officials have accepted an offer from state legislative staff to help with redistricting.

New county commissioner, state legislative and congressional district lines are redrawn after every 10 years, following the federal decennial census.

Canadian County Commissioners on Sept. 20 signed an agreement with the Oklahoma House and Senate redistricting offices, which will provide “redistricting technical support” using data from the 2020 U.S. Census.

“We could use some of their help,” Canadian County Commission Chairman Jack Stewart said.

Official 2020 Census figures show Canadian County’s population grew by 33.6% – from 115,541 to 154,405 – since the 2010 Census.

Canadian County is the state’s fastest-growing large county, the newly released data has proven.

“We’ve gone from 38,000-plus constituents per commissioner to a little over 51,000 per commissioner in 10 years,” said Stewart, the District 3 county commissioner.

Once Canadian County redistricting is finalized, new boundaries for the three commissioner districts will remain in effect through 2030.

Stewart, of Yukon, attended the recent annual County Officers and Deputies Association (CODA) Conference in Tulsa. It was there he learned Oklahoma’s rural counties had already approved their new commissioner district boundaries.

Larger counties like Canadian are taking more time to redraw their lines because of significant population changes.

“Very few counties have not done their commissioner (redistricting),” he shared. “It’s my understanding we don’t have the final counts yet and the Senate and House haven’t got their district lines firmly established.”

Oklahoma legislators are expected to meet in a special session this November to approve the “final lines” for new state House and Senate districts.

Due to population shifts in Canadian County and across Oklahoma, the task of redistricting is necessary every 10 years to ensure equal representation will exist for equal numbers of people.

The new district boundaries will be used to conduct county, state congressional and legislative elections from 2022-30.

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NEW POLLING PRECINCTS …

The current redistricting process, along with Canadian County’s dramatic population growth, will result in new voting precinct lines.

Canadian County Election Board Secretary Wanda Armold

“You couldn’t compare our county to rural (counties) because we’ve grown by 30,000 voters,” Canadian County Election Board Secretary Wanda Armold said.

Armold told county commissioners she’s unsure how many new precincts, polling places and election workers will be needed.

District 1 County Commissioner Marc Hader used his precinct (200, at Surrey Hills Baptist Church) as an example.

“It’s going to have to be split; we’ve all known that’s coming,” Hader said. “There’s like 7,500 people in that precinct.”

Much of Canadian County’s 38,864-resident population increase has been around Yukon, Piedmont and Mustang – with a significant part of this growth within Oklahoma City limits.

Canadian County now has 50 polling precincts.