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Fast facts about Oklahoma's 2010 ballot measures
|States with 2010 ballot measures|
by Leslie Graves
- Eleven statewide ballot questions are on Oklahoma's November 2, 2010 ballot.
- Only one of the 11 measures, State Question 744, earned its spot on the ballot through the process of collecting signatures. The other ten were voted onto the ballot by the Oklahoma State Legislature.
- 10 of the 11 measures on the ballot will amend the Oklahoma Constitution if they are passed.
- To get on the 2010 ballot, initiative sponsors needed 219,400 signatures for an initiated constitutional amendment, 117,013 signatures for an initiated state statute and 73,134 for a veto referendum.
Referrals dominate over initiatives
- In the 10 year period from 2000-2010, 46 total statewide measures have been on the Oklahoma ballot. 43 of these were put on the ballot by the Oklahoma State Legislature, while only 3 initiated measures have qualified for the ballot. Altogether, 93% of the statewide measures on the Oklahoma ballot in the 2000-2010 decade were legislative referrals.
- Prior to 2010, the last time an initiated measure was on the Oklahoma ballot was in 2005, Oklahoma State Question 723. Before then, it was in 2002, with State Question 687, the Ban on Cockfighting Initiative.
Initiatives in Oklahoma
- Oklahoma is one of 18 states that allow initiated constitutional amendments and one of 22 states that allow initiated state statutes. It is one of 22 states with the veto referendum process, although the last time the veto referendum process was used in Oklahoma was in 1970.
- Including just initiated constitutional amendments and initiated state statutes, there have been 86 initiated measures on the Oklahoma ballot since 1908, including this year's SQ 744. Excluding SQ 744, 39 have been approved and 46 have been defeated, for an overall win ratio of 45.8%.
- The first initiative to be on an Oklahoma ballot was Oklahoma Initiative 1 in 1908. The measure, an initiated state statute that would have set some rules governing the sale of public lands, was defeated.
- 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.
- Sections 1 and 2 of Article V of the Oklahoma Constitution lay out the constitutional rules governing initiatives in the state.
- Oklahoma has the last petition drive deadline in the country, in early September.
- 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's initiative process got a C+ in a 2010 report produced by the Citizens in Charge Foundation.
Oklahoma compared to other states
- There are six common forms of direct democracy (legislatively-referred state statutes, legislatively-referred constitutional amendments, initiated constitutional amendments, initiated state statutes, veto referendums and recall) and Oklahoma has five of them on the statewide level. The one it is missing is recall, although a number of municipalities within the state allow recall (see Recall campaigns in Oklahoma.)
- Oklahoma is one of just six states with a very little-known and little-exercised direct democracy option, the petition to impanel a grand jury.
- It is relatively hard to get an initiated constitutional amendment on the Oklahoma ballot, and relatively easy to get a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment on the ballot. Oklahoma is just one of ten states where the legislature can vote a proposed amendment onto the ballot in (a) just one session of the legislature and (b) with a majority vote, rather than a supermajority vote, of the legislature.
- Oklahoma 2010 ballot measures
- List of Oklahoma ballot measures
- History of Initiative & Referendum in Oklahoma
- Laws governing the initiative process in Oklahoma
- Amending the Oklahoma Constitution