(The Center Square) – Oregonians have a once-in-a-decade opportunity to advise Secretary of State Shemia Fagan should it fall to her to redraw Oregon's political map.
Under the Oregon Constitution, state lawmakers are tasked with redrawing state political districts through a process called redistricting every 10 years. It decides who voters are represented by in the state Capitol and Washington D.C. based on U.S. Census Bureau population data. The release of its 2020 block data was pushed back to Sept. 23, shifting the state legislature's deadline to submit a redistricting plan to Gov. Kate Brown, with the state supreme court's go-ahead.
Oregon's secretaries of state have redrawn Oregon's electoral districts just twice in the past 100 years. Partisanship and mounting political tensions in Salem have thrown the state legislature into disarray on multiple occasions this year. That's left Fagan thinking about political failsafes. If it falls to her to submit a plan, she has until Oct. 18 to do it.
On Thursday, Fagan's office opened an online portal for Oregonians to apply for the "People's Commission," an ad hoc committee she promised to form last fall while running for her current office. The 20-member volunteer body is intended to include people from all four corners of Oregon to advise Fagan on who they want representing them in the state capitol and Congress.
Eligible candidates must be at least 16 years old and have lived in the state since April 2020. They cannot be a sitting or recent Oregon lawmaker, lobbyist, Capitol aide, or a candidate running for office.
Oregon is among three dozen states whose redistricting process is up to partisan politics to decide. This year, the process could be turned on its head if the House redistricting committee sees sparks fly between Democratic and Republican state lawmakers, who will see equal representation for the first time. The Senate's redistricting committee remains in Democratic hands.
Oregonians have until Sep. 2 to apply to serve on the People's Commission. They can do so online here.