Changes due to Yukon-area legislative districts

Special session Nov. 15 to finalize redistricting process

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State Rep. Denise Crosswhite Hader (R-Piedmont)

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

Oklahoma legislators will meet in a special session during the week of Nov. 15 to approve the “final lines” for new state House and Senate districts.

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

State lawmakers usually have final population counts from the census by April 1, so they can approve new House and Senate maps when the regular legislative session ends in May.

But redistricting was delayed this time because the 2020 U.S. Census was finished late due to COVID-19.

“We did not get our federal numbers until August 13,” said District 41 State Rep. Denise Crosswhite Hader (R-Piedmont).

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.

Because of Canadian County’s large population growth over the past decade, the size of House District 41 will shrink and no longer include Garfield County.

District 41 has been the second most populated state House district, stretching from Surrey Hills to Enid.

At the monthly Yukon Chamber of Commerce Legislative Breakfast, Rep. Crosswhite Hader referred to Canadian County’s “good” growth problem that will prompt significant changes to several state House and Senate districts with skyrocketing population numbers.

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

The data has proven that Canadian County is the state’s fastest-growing large county.

Both the House and Senate are “continuing to work to refine those districts” before the Nov. 15th special session starts, Rep. Crosswhite Hader added.

“We’ll be in session all week long,” she said.

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Large growing counties like Canadian will wait until the Oklahoma Legislature draws its new House and Senate boundaries before they finalize new commissioner districts.

Oklahoma’s 77 counties each has three commissioner districts, divided as closely as possible by population.

Each Canadian County commissioner district will increase from 38,000 people in the 2010 census to more than 51,000 in the 2020 census.

District 1 County Commissioner Marc Hader believes changes to the three districts “shouldn’t be dramatic.”

“A tweak of this or that,” Hader said. “A precinct here, a precinct there.”

New boundaries for Canadian County’s commissioner districts will remain in effect through 2030.

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

With a new Oklahoma Senate seat coming to the Yukon area, Commissioner Hader has asked state leadership why they are “waiting so long” to finish the redistricting process.