Broken Arrow councilors approve redistricting plan for city’s ward boundaries
By John Dobberstein, Editor
The Broken Arrow City Council has approved a redistricting of ward boundaries that will make some minor adjustments as recommended by staff and an appoint citizens’ advisory panel.
The existing ward boundaries were last approved by the City Council on in 2011. Cities are allowed to realign wards as needed, taking into account population shifts that have occurred.
The U.S. Census population county for 2020 in Broken Arrow was 113,540. During the last decade, between the 2010 and 2020 Census, the City of Broken Arrow’s population grew by almost 14,690, which is a 14.8% increase.
With the current Ward Boundaries in place, Wards 1 and 3 have the largest populations in the City at 29,102 and 30,483, respectively. Ward 2’s population is at 27,078 and Ward 4 is at 26,877 residents.
Under the newly approved Plan A, Ward 1 will have 27,967 residents and decreases by 1,135 residents. Ward 2 will have 29,290 residents and will grow by 2,212. Ward 3 will have 27,714 residents decreasing by 2,769 and Ward 4 will have 28,569 residents and increase by 1,692 residents.
Plan A (below) expands Ward 2's boundary another square mile to the northwest and Ward 4 will expand to the south.
“Ward boundary redistricting will not impact city council elections for voters," said the city of Broken Arrow’s Placemaking Manager, Farhad Daroga said. “All Broken Arrow residents within city limits can vote for any City Council seat no matter which ward they reside. Only the person running for office within that ward must reside within that ward.”
“Having a nonpartisan group to look at this and give us recommendation is something I found to be very helpful, said Ward 4 councilman Scott Eudey.
One of the reasons for redistricting, as required through federal guidelines, is to assure that no particular ward or voting district is under or overrepresented in population and is in compliance with the “one-person, one-vote” principle as established through the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
For a fast-growing community like Broken Arrow, ward boundaries have been aligned with expected future growth to maintain an appropriate balance as much as possible for the following decade.
On April 5, 2022, the City Council appointed a 5-person citizen advisory panel to work with staff towards future ward boundaries. Carlos DeLeon, Kristen Ward, Dale DeReign, Shelley Gwartney and Joshua Stenros met with city staff on 25 and reviewed the city’s demographics and growth patterns.
After discussing several proposed plans, the panel recommended one option to be reviewed in detail. The panel met again on May 9 and unanimously recommended Plan A based on the 2020 Census count.