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Fast facts about Oklahoma's 2010 ballot measures

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September 19, 2010

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by Leslie Graves

Referrals dominate over initiatives

Initiatives in Oklahoma

Robert Latham Owen, a U.S. Senator from Oklahoma who championed direct democracy
  • The first initiative to be on the Oklahoma ballot that passed was Initiative 7 in 1910. Initiative 7 was about whether there should be a permanent state capitol and, if so, should it be in Guthrie, Oklahoma City, or Shawnee. Initiative 7 passed, and voters chose Oklahoma City. Initiative 7 was the first initiative to be approved by voters, and it was also the first initiative in the state to later be invalidated by the Oklahoma Supreme Court, which said that it violated the single-subject rule.
  • Initiative sponsors must collect all their required signatures in a 90-day period, so depending on when they start collecting signatures, their specific petition drive deadline can be much earlier than September of the relevant year. The 90-day window for collecting signatures, combined with the relatively high number of signatures that must be collected, makes Oklahoma one of the toughest states in the country in which to qualify an initiative for the ballot.
  • The number of signatures necessary to qualify for the ballot in Oklahoma is 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. This means that the number of signatures needed varies significantly, depending on whether the most recent general election was a presidential election or a gubernatorial election, since presidential elections have a much higher voter turnout. Oklahoma is one of the few states in the country that uses this formula to calculate the number of required signatures. (The majority of states base their requirement exclusively on the most recent gubernatorial vote.)

Oklahoma compared to other states


See also