Oklahoma Initiative and Referendum Signature Requirements, State Question 750 (2010)
The Oklahoma Initiative and Referendum Signature Requirements Amendment, also known as State Question 750, was on the November 2, 2010 ballot in Oklahoma as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was approved.
Proposed by Oklahoma State Senator Randy Brogdon, the measure changed the formula which determined how many signatures were needed to get an initiative or referendum on the ballot. Previously, the formula was a percentage of the number of votes in the last general election. This proposition changed that so that the formula was based solely on the last Governor’s race. This eliminated the increase and decrease in signature requirement every two years based on the fact that many more people vote in presidential years, making the process more uniform. The measure was supported by Oklahomans for Responsible Government and Citizens in Charge.
- See also: 2010 ballot measure election results
Official results of the measure follow:
|Oklahoma State Question 750 (2010)|
Election results via: Oklahoma Secretary of State
Text of amendment
| This measure amends a section of the State Constitution. The section deals with initiative petitions. It also deals with referendum petitions. It deals with how many signatures are required on such petitions. It changes that requirement.
"Initiative" is the right to propose laws and constitutional amendments. "Referendum" is the right to reject a law passed by the Legislature.
The following voter signature requirements apply.
8% must sign to propose law
15% must sign to propose to change the State Constitution.
5% must sign to order a referendum.
These percentages are based upon the State office receiving the most total votes at the last General Election. The measure changes this basis. The measure's basis uses every other General Election. General Elections are held every two years. The Governor is on the ballot every four years. The measure's basis only uses General Elections with the Governor on the ballot.
The President is on the ballot in intervening General Elections. The measure's basis does not use General Elections with the President on the ballot.
More votes are usually cast at Presidential General Elections. Thus, the measure would generally have a lowering effect on the number of required signatures.
Shall the proposal be approved?
For the proposal
Against the proposal
- Author of the ballot measure, Sen. Randy Brodgon and Rep. Randy Terrill helped pass the measure through both houses of the legislature.
- Brogdon stated his support for the measure when he explained that the amendment would allow for a free exchange of ideas that were new, not just limited to two parties. According to Brogdon: “We just want to talk about the two things — Republican and Democrat, Republican and Democrat. Not me. I’m a student. I learn every time I talk to someone, I have opportunities to glean from their knowledge.”
- Oklahomans for Responsible Government was a strong proponent for petition reform. Brian Downs, Executive Director of Oklahomans for Responsible Government, said, "A fundamental right of the people is to be able to petition their government and create their own laws. Oklahoma has one of the highest barriers to getting a measure on the ballot and Senate Joint Resolution 13 will make that a little easier.”
- Citizens in Charge was also a supporter of SJR 13. Paul Jacob, the organization's president, called SJR 13, “the most important pro-initiative measure passed by a state legislature in many, many years — arguably decades.”
- The Oklahomans for Sovereignty and Free Enterprise took stances on a number of the 11 questions on the November 2010 ballot. The group's position on State Question 750 was to vote yes on the measure.
- According to reports, there was no organized opposition formed against the measure.
- In a letter to the editor of the Muskogee Phoenix, state resident Frank Shurden stated that sportsmen, live stock producers and rodeo fans should vote against the measure. Shurden stated, "Beward of State Question 750. State Question 750 will greatly lower the required number of signatures needed on an initiative petition for it to be placed on the ballot for voter consideration.Animal rights groups are holding their breaths and hoping that SQ 750 will pass so they can flood the ballot with animal rights proposals."
- The Oklahoman recommended a 'yes' vote on the measure, stating "Oklahomans face a tough hurdle in bringing initiative and referendum petitions to a vote of the people, especially in the years after a presidential election when the number of signatures needed on petitions is higher than at other times. It's time for that to change."
- The Enid News and Eagle recommended a 'yes' vote on the measure, stating, "This question basically changes the election on which the number of signatures is based to bring an initiative petition. The number currently is based on general elections in which there is a presidential election. This would change it to be the last general election in which the governor was on the ballot. This would stabilize the number of petition signatures needed."
- The Tulsa World was against the measure, recommending a 'no' vote: "Restrictions on initiative petitions are good where they are and should not be loosened. The measure should be rejected."
- The Tulsa Beacon made recommendations for all the state questions on the ballot, and recommended a 'yes' vote on the measure.
- See also: Polls, 2010 ballot measures
- In a survey conducted by SoonerPoll.com and powered by Tulsa World, 621 likely Oklahoma voters were polled on 5 of the 9 statewide ballot questions that was on the November 2, 2010 ballot. The poll, conducted via telephone during the dates of January 2-5, 2010, included only registered voters in the state, and surveyed 325 Democrats, 267 Republicans, 28 Independents and one Libertarian. According to reports, the margin of error was plus or minus 3.93 percentage points. The results for Question 750 are as follows.
- In a poll conducted by SoonerPoll.com, 43 percent of voters polled stated that they were against the measure. The poll surveyed likely registered voters in the state, which included 385 Democrats, 340 Republicans and 31 independents. The margin of error was reported to be 3.57 percentage points and was commissioned by the Tulsa World.
- In one of the last polls taken by SoonerPoll before the general election, the results showed somewhat of a split by those surveyed. The poll included 384 Democrats, 345 Republicans and 24 independents.
|Date of Poll||Pollster||In favor||Opposed||Undecided||Number polled|
|January 2-5, 2010||SoonerPoll.com||38%||45%||17%||621|
|July 16-21, 2010||SoonerPoll.com||38%||43%||19%||755|
|October 18-23, 2010||SoonerPoll.com||41%||44%||15%||753|
Path to the ballot
The Oklahoma State Legislature can approve a proposed amendment by a majority vote. (However, if the state legislature wants the proposed amendment to go on a special election ballot, it has to approve the amendment by a 2/3rds vote.) Oklahoma is one of ten states that allows a referred amendment to go on the ballot after a majority vote in one session of the state's legislature.
In early May 2009 the ballot measure was approved by both the Senate and the House of Representatives and was on the 2010 ballot. The ballot measure was proposed by Sen. Randy Brodgon. Previous versions of the original bill, Senate Joint Resolution 13, would have lowered the percentage of signatures required in Oklahoma from 15% for a constitutional amendment and 10% for a statutory change to 10% and 8% respectively. The bill was amended into its final form during debate in the legislature.
- House Bill 2246, authored by Rep. Terrill, and Senate Bill 852, authored by Sen. Borgdon, both propose to extend petition circulation from 90 days to 1 year. It was vetoed by Gov. Brad Henry after passing unanimously in the state senate and with one dissenting vote in the house.
- Senate Bill 800 - Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry signed into the bill into law on May 26, 2009. The bill permitted people who planned to circulate an initiative submit a description of their initiative for public scrutiny before they gathered signatures.
- Oklahoma 2010 ballot measures
- 2010 ballot measures
- List of Oklahoma ballot measures
- History of Initiative & Referendum in Oklahoma
- Oklahoma Secretary of State
- Oklahoma State Question 750
- Oklahoma State Questions Booklet for the November 2, 2010 election
- Oklahoma Secretary of State, "State Questions," accessed December 3, 2014
- Oklahoma Secretary of State, "State Question 750," accessed December 3, 2014
- The Oklahoman, "Bills would ease initiative burdens," May 22,2009
- The Edmond Sun, "State Question 750 opens up ballot access," October 7, 2009
- Oklahomans for Responsible Government, "Initiative Petition Reform Gets On the Ballot," May 5,2009 (dead link)
- Citizens in Charge Foundation, "Oklahoma Legislature Passes Major Reform," May 5,2009
- Tulsa Beacon, "11 state questions may pose problems," September 15, 2010
- The Oklahoman, "Oklahoma state question would tie signature requirement to number of voters in gubernatorial election," September 26, 2010
- Muskogee Phoenix, "THE PEOPLE SPEAK — Sportsmen, say no to State Question 750," October 30, 2010 (dead link)
- The Oklahoman, "Our SQ choices," October 17, 2010
- The Enid News and Eagle, "Our take on the state questions," October 18, 2010
- Tulsa World, "State questions," October 24, 2010
- Tulsa Beacon, "Tulsa Beacon voting endorsements for the Nov. 2 Election," October 28, 2010
- Tulsa World, "Term limit expansion finds hefty support," January 26, 2010
- The Tulsa World, "Education funding measure supported, Oklahoma Poll shows," August 5, 2010
- Tulsa World, "SQ 744 opposition rises," October 30, 2010
- Several Oklahoma bills aim to open up initiative process
- Ballot Access News, "Oklahoma Bills to Make Initiative Qualification Easier Advance," February 18, 2009
- The Enid News, "Group is seeking consistency in Oklahoma’s petition process," May 14,2009
- Tulsa World, "Nonprofit group criticizes Henry veto" June 8 2009 (dead link)
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