Oklahoma State Question 750 (2010)

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Oklahoma Senate Joint Resolution 13, was on the November 2, 2010 ballot in the state of Oklahoma as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment. The measure was approved. Approveda

It's official heading was State Question 750. Proposed by Oklahoma State Senator Randy Brogdon, it would amend the Oklahoma Constitution to change the formula which determined how many signatures were needed to get an initiative or referendum on the ballot. 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.

Election results

See also: 2010 ballot measure election results

Official results of the measure follow:

Question 750 (Initiative and Referendum)
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 485,703 50.4%
No478,04249.6%

Results via the Oklahoma Election Board.

Text of amendment

Ballot title

The ballot title that Oklahoma voters saw on the ballot read:[1]


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

Yes: __________

Against the proposal

No: __________

Constitutional changes

Oklahoma State Question 750 (2010), Constitutional text changes

The measure was proposed to amend Article V, Section 2 of the Oklahoma Constitution.[2]

Support

Supporters

  • 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.”[4]
  • 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.”[5]
  • 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.”[6]

Opposition

Opponents

  • According to reports, there was no organized opposition formed against the measure.[8]

Arguments

  • 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."[9]

Media endorsements

See also: Endorsements of Oklahoma ballot measures, 2010

Support

  • 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."[10]
  • 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."[11]
  • 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."[12]
  • The Tulsa Beacon made recommendations for all the state questions on the ballot, and recommended a 'yes' vote on the measure.[13]

Polls

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.[14]
  • 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.[15]
  • 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.[16]
Legend

     Position is ahead and at or over 50%     Position is ahead or tied, but under 50%

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.[17][18][5][19]

Related Legislation

  • 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.[20]
  • 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.

See also

External links

BP-Initials-UPDATED.png
Suggest a link

References

  1. Oklahoma Secretary of State, "Proposed State Questions"
  2. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named language
  3. The Oklahoman, "Bills would ease initiative burdens," May 22,2009
  4. The Edmond Sun, "State Question 750 opens up ballot access," October 7, 2009
  5. 5.0 5.1 Oklahomans for Responsible Government, "Initiative Petition Reform Gets On the Ballot," May 5,2009
  6. Citizens in Charge Foundation, "Oklahoma Legislature Passes Major Reform," May 5,2009
  7. Tulsa Beacon, "11 state questions may pose problems," September 15, 2010
  8. The Oklahoman, "Oklahoma state question would tie signature requirement to number of voters in gubernatorial election," September 26, 2010
  9. Muskogee Phoenix, "THE PEOPLE SPEAK — Sportsmen, say no to State Question 750," October 30, 2010
  10. The Oklahoman, "Our SQ choices," October 17, 2010
  11. The Enid News and Eagle, "Our take on the state questions," October 18, 2010
  12. Tulsa World, "State questions," October 24, 2010
  13. Tulsa Beacon, "Tulsa Beacon voting endorsements for the Nov. 2 Election," October 28, 2010
  14. Tulsa World, "Term limit expansion finds hefty support," January 26, 2010
  15. The Tulsa World, "Education funding measure supported, Oklahoma Poll shows," August 5, 2010
  16. Tulsa World, "SQ 744 opposition rises," October 30, 2010
  17. Several Oklahoma bills aim to open up initiative process
  18. Ballot Access News, "Oklahoma Bills to Make Initiative Qualification Easier Advance," February 18, 2009
  19. The Enid News, "Group is seeking consistency in Oklahoma’s petition process," May 14,2009
  20. Tulsa World, "Nonprofit group criticizes Henry veto" June 8 2009