Signature requirements for ballot measures in Oklahoma
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|List of measures|
The number of signatures required is tied to the total vote cast for governor in the last gubernatorial election. Amendments, statutes, and veto referendums must receive signatures equaling 15%, 8%, and 5% of this vote, respectively. Previously rejected measures require 25% of this vote in order to be placed on the ballot again within 3 years. Signatures are presumed valid unless challenged.
The basis of the Oklahoma signature requirement used to be the votes cast for the office receiving the most votes in the state's last general election. Due to higher turnout for presidential elections, the signature requirement varied widely every fourth year. In 2010, voters passed Oklahoma State Question 750 amending the requirement.
Basis for calculation
Signature requirements in Oklahoma are calculated as a percentage of the total number of votes cast in the state's most recent general election for whichever statewide office (including president) received the highest number of votes in that election.
Because of this method of calculation, the number of required signatures can change fairly dramatically from year-to-year, going down after an election year in which there is no presidential contest, and going back up after an election year in which there was a presidential contest.
For example, in 2008, Oklahoma voters cast 1,462,661 votes for the office of president, whereas in 2010, voters cast 1,034,767 votes for governor. As a result, to put a constitutional amendment on the 2012 ballot requires 155,215 signatures, whereas to put an amendment on the 2010 ballot would have required 219,400 signatures, a difference of more than 60,000 signatures.
- The highest number of votes cast in the most recent general election (2010) were the votes cast for Governor. This number came to 1,034,767. This has led to a decrease in the number of signatures required for a 2012 ballot initiative since the relevant number going into 2010 was the number of votes cast for Presidential elector in 2008, which was 1,462,661 votes.
- Previously rejected initiative or referendum measures require 25% of the vote in signatures. Currently, this number is 258,692.
The petition process for state questions in Oklahoma follows a lengthy review process after the required petitions and signatures have been filed, and thus there is no specific deadline before which petitions and signatures must be filed. Proponents must file the petition and ballot title with the Secretary of State and Attorney General. The Secretary of State will then submit the proposed ballot title to Attorney General for review, which will be completed within 5 days of filing. The Attorney General will list any and all defects found and, if defective, prepare and file a ballot title which complies with the law within 10 business days of determining the title defective. The Secretary of State will also file a Publication of Notice of Filing along with the apparent sufficiency or insufficiency of the petition, including ballot title. After this part of the process is completed, there will be an appeal and protest period for the ballot title and petition within 10 days after publication of the Notice of Publication.
- If an appeal or protest is filed:
- A protest to the petition or title will be given to the Supreme Court and to the proponent(s) filing the petition.
- If an appeal is filed with the Supreme Court on the proposed ballot title, a substitute ballot title will be offered in exchange for the one from which the appeal is taken.
- The Court may correct or amend the ballot title before the court or accept the substitute suggested or draft a new one.
- A hearing schedule will be set by the Supreme Court, and the Court shall decide whether the petition is in the form required by the Statutes.
- The Court will determine the sufficiency or insufficiency of the petition and ballot title.
- If no appeal or protest filed or if petition sufficient by Order of the Court:
- The ballot title will be transmitted to the State Election Board within 10 business days after a review by the Attorney General.
Signature filing deadline
- Signatures for a citizen initiative, whether it is an initiated state statute or an initiated constitutional amendment, must be filed within 90 days of the time that the initiative proponent filed the petition with the Oklahoma Secretary of State.
- Signatures for a veto referendum must be filed within 90 days of the adjournment of the legislative session of the Oklahoma State Legislature that enacted the disputed measure.
- The absolute latest deadline for submitting signatures -- regardless of when the proponent started to collect them -- is 60 days prior to the election or September 7, 2012. In 2014, that date is September 5, 2014.
- Main article: Changes in 2009 to laws governing the initiative process
- Oklahoma Senate Joint Resolution 13, 2009 went to the vote of the people on the 2010 ballot and was approved. The amendment ties the number of required signatures to the vote for governor, instead of for president in presidential election years.
- Oklahoma Senate Bill 852, 2009 made several changes, including extending the circulation period from 90 days to one year.
SJR 13 and SB 852 are both sponsored by Randy Brogdon.
- Ballot access requirements for political candidates in Oklahoma
- Laws governing the initiative process in Oklahoma
- List of all filed Oklahoma ballot measures (Scroll to end of document for possible 2010 ballot measures)
- Signature requirements from the Oklahoma Secretary of State
- NCSL signature chart for 2008
- Oklahoma signature requirements collated by the Citizens in Charge Foundation
State of Oklahoma
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