Stephen Skacall: Independents Should Be Included in Redistricting Process

Emailed to contact.ipr@gmail.com by Stephen Skacall:

Last year, I ran for State House as an independent. I did it because I felt that a lot of voices weren’t being heard in Oklahoma City. I received more votes, as a percentage, than any other independent candidate (and even some Democrats and Republicans) in the entire state, which I think shows that many voters feel the same way. But one of the Constitutional amendments that we passed last year threatens to further remove independent voters from the political process.

State Question 748, which changed the way we draw up legislative districts after each census, took a step toward fairness by creating a bipartisan commission to handle the redistricting process. Unfortunately, that amendment failed to include the many independent voters across Oklahoma. There are nearly 250,000 registered independent voters in Oklahoma. Yet, under the new redistricting process, only those voters who are Democrats or Republicans have any say in how districts are drawn up. Independents are specifically excluded from the entire process.

Any time an entire class of people is purposely left out of the political process, a great injustice has been committed. And though I have had to relocate to South Carolina temporarily due to a family crisis, I remain very committed to ensuring that all Oklahomans have the opportunity to have their voices heard in the political process. That’s why I proudly support the efforts of the Clark Duffe, Vice-Chair of the Oklahoma Libertarian Party, who has filed a lawsuit in state court to overturn State Question 748 and require that independent voters be represented on the redistricting committee, along with Democrats and Republicans.

This lawsuit isn’t an attack on Democrats or Republicans, as some have said. Rather, this is an attempt to create a truly open political process, through which all Oklahomans can have their voices heard. As much as the political establishment may want us to believe otherwise, the truth is that many Oklahomans don’t agree with either the Democrats or the Republicans. Should those people be left out of the political process, simply because they refuse to choose between what they see as the “lesser of two evils”? I don’t think so. We all have the right to have our voices heard, and including an independent voter on the redistricting commission will make that happen.

Please join me in contacting Attorney General Scott Pruitt, and ask him to lobby for an independent member on the legislative redistricting commission. If he sees that the voters support this effort, then it just might become reality.

Thanks, and God bless.

Stephen Skacall

5 thoughts on “Stephen Skacall: Independents Should Be Included in Redistricting Process

  1. Kimberly Wilder

    It is a great point that independent should be included in a redistricting process.

    Overall, independent and third party activists should constantly call out systems that are said to be fair because they are “bipartisan”. Bipartisan means that the two, biggest camps of people in power are in cahoots to keep everyone else out, and make their own gentlemen’s agreements behind closed doors.

    In some states, the Boards of Elections are literally run by “The Democratic Party” and “The Republican Party”. That is how it is in New Y ork. Truly, if you think about it for two seconds, that is a horrible, exclusionary, oppressive system.

    Having bipartisan control of a system means you are excluding the interests of: independents; third parties; and even insurgents in the major parties, who could possibly move those parties into new or better directions.

    In NY, the BOE’s are defined as having equal staff from the two parties who get the most votes for Governor (always the Dems and Reps). I have proposed at least having an “Independent/Third Party Ombudsperson” on staff at each BOE and the state BOE, so people like us have a chance in heck of getting actual service and the answers we deserve.

  2. Joe Keg

    This is a good point.

    Too many people do not know the difference between bipartisan, multipartisan and nonpartisan.

  3. Independent Green Party of Virginia

    Yes, it’s a good point.

    Can not speak for other states. In Virginia, the Independent Green Party of Virginia, celebrating 10 years as a recognized state political party, IS included in the redistricting process.

    The Independent Greens of Virginia have placed more candidates on the ballot in local, state, and federal elections in the commonwealth.

    The Indy Greens have worked with Independents, and various third parties.

    So their request to be included in the committee along with the two larger parties was honored, according to Independent Green Party News..

    http://www.votejoinrun.us/news.html

    The Independent Green Party of Virginia

  4. Garlan Flanagan

    Stephen, we have some unfinished business to take care of. I do hope you will contact me soon to settle the issues. Thank you, Garlan

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