Oklahomans who want to put an issue on the state ballot face a process so complicated that state officials often advise them to hire an attorney to study murky and sometimes conflicting language in the Constitution, statutes and court opinions.
If they do manage to navigate the legal hurdles, they have 90 days to collect enough voter signatures to put their proposal on the ballot. The number of signatures is so high that an expensive army of canvassers is required if the initiative drive is to be successful.
Gov. Mary Fallin vetoed a bill June 4 that sought to clarify the process. Secretary of State Chris Benge, whose office has produced a four-page flow chart on initiative procedures, hopes a similar bill succeeds next year.
Gathering 155,000 signatures in 90 days on a petition is a tough ask, even for the most seasoned petitioners. In Oklahoma this is the reality, with only 3 of more than 24 statewide initiatives since 1998 making it to the ballot.
On Sunday, the state’s largest newspaper, The Oklahoman, published an editorial entitled, “Oklahoma initiative petition process needs to change,” which called the state’s petition requirement “too steep.” The paper added, “Lawmakers should study this issue and come up with a lower threshold, one that doesn’t open the ballot to silliness but does give everyday citizens a reasonable chance to possibly effect change.”
Oklahomans for Health must submit their initiative petition on medical marijuana to the Oklahoma Secretary of State by Friday. The group said late last week it had 120,000 of the 156,000 signatures to bring the initiative to a vote of the people.
The group claims to have registered a “record number” of new voters while gathering signatures.
Read More: here
A group that wants to install a tornado shelter in every public school in Oklahoma spent the holiday weekend gathering signatures to get its initiative petition on an upcoming ballot.
This isn’t Take Shelter Oklahoma’s first attempt to collect 155,000 signatures, but the group is giving it another shot.
Supporters of Take Shelter Oklahoma stood on the porch of David Slane’s Oklahoma City law office last week to celebrate the launch of their second signature gathering campaign.
Read (and listen to) more: here
Signatures are being collected in hopes of legalizing medical marijuana in Oklahoma.
At a kickoff petition drive Wednesday, supporters called on lawmakers to join their cause to allow voters to decide the issue.
Dozens of people gathered on the south steps of a quiet Capitol Building Wednesday afternoon. A few people arrived as early 10:30 a.m. Many of those in attendance made the trip to Oklahoma City from the Tulsa area.
Disabled veteran Eldon Lunsford of Nowata recently returned home from Denver’s 420 Rally. Lunsford told News 9 he can’t wait to return to his “mile high.”
Read more: here
Backers of the initiative petitions filed in recent weeks with the city need around 6,000 valid signatures to call a vote.
That number is going up after last week’s mayoral election.
The signature requirement is based on turnout in the most recent city-wide election.
Read More: here
Ward 2 City Councilman Ed Shadid is advocating for two initiative petitions filed Jan. 2. The first calls for citywide vote to prohibit use of sales taxes for a new downtown convention center and hotel. The second would end the MAPS 3 sales tax in 2015, instead of 2018.
If both measures secure ballot status and gain voter approval, the result could mean a sales tax cut for residents. Supporters will have 90 days to gather 6,000 valid signatures for each petition.
Read More: here
A ballot measure that would criminalize abortion by granting “personhood” status to a human embryo is one of nearly a dozen proposals that Oklahoma lawmakers want to send to voters in November.
The personhood amendment is similar to a proposal that was rejected by Mississippi voters last year, but the author of the Oklahoma proposal, Rep. Mike Reynolds, said Monday that he’s modified the language to specify that the measure does not apply to miscarriages or to cases where the pregnancy threatens the life of the mother.
Critics of redistricting filed an initiative petition on Wednesday seeking a statewide vote on a new process.Â They are trying to gather nearly 83,000 signatures to get the measure on the 2012 general election ballot.Â If the measure is approved by voters, it would toss out the recently drawn boundaries for legislative and congressional districts.
Oklahoma’s legislature wrapped up its 2011 legislative session Friday, and while the state still has arguably the toughest petition process in the nation, it didn’t get any tougher this year.
A letter sentÂ Wednesday to members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives byÂ Citizens in Charge President Paul Jacob shows increasing criticism of a plan by some Oklahoma legislators to make state petition proponents gather signatures based on congressional districts instead of statewide.
Patrick B. McGuiganÂ of CapitolBeatOK reports:
On March 3, the Oklahoma Senate passed SJR 37, which would make it more difficult for initiatives to get on the ballot. The bill adds a U.S. House district distribution requirement. Current law requires an initiative that changes an ordinary law to get the signatures of 8% of the last gubernatorial vote. The bill would provide that the petition would need 8% in each of the five districts. This is a proposed Constitutional change, and if it passes the House as well, would go on the ballot in November 2012. The vote in the Senate was 28-15.
In a story out of Oklahoma, a state representative is proposing a bill that would force those looking to put a measure on the ballot to also propose how to fund the measure. From the Tulsa Beacon:
State Question 744 could not have reached the ballot if legislation filed this month by state Rep. Pat Ownbey had been in place.
House Bill 1225 would require initiative petitions that mandate new spending to identify a funding source. Those submitting the petition would have to include a statement “outlining all sources of funding to be used in the measure.”
State Question 744 could not have reached the ballot if legislation filed this month by state Rep. Pat Ownbey had been in place. House Bill 1225 would require initiative petitions that mandate new spending to identify a funding source. Those submitting the petition would have to include a statement “outlining all sources of funding to be used in the measure.”