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Difference between revisions of "Laws governing the initiative process in Oklahoma"

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===Competing initiatives===
 
===Competing initiatives===
  
::''See also: [[Superseding initiative]]s; [[Poison pill (ballot measures)|"Poison pills"]]; [[List of Oklahoma ballot measures]]''
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{{LawLinkParser|State=Oklahoma|Link=Superseding initiative|Link2=Poison pill (ballot measures){{!}}"Poison pills"|Link3=List of Oklahoma ballot measures}}
  
 
Oklahoma law provides that in the event that two measures conflict, the measure with the most affirmative votes supersedes the other on all points of conflict. The other measure is not wholly superseded.
 
Oklahoma law provides that in the event that two measures conflict, the measure with the most affirmative votes supersedes the other on all points of conflict. The other measure is not wholly superseded.

Revision as of 10:42, 18 May 2012

[edit]

Ballot law
BallotLaw final.png
State laws
Initiative law
Recall law
Statutory changes
Court cases
Lawsuit news
Ballot access rulings
Recent court cases
Petitioner access
Ballot title challenges
Superseding initiatives
Signature challenges
Laws governing
local ballot measures
Contents
1 Laws and procedures
1.1 Crafting an initiative
1.1.1 Single-subject rule
1.1.2 Subject restrictions
1.1.3 Competing initiatives
1.2 Starting a petition
1.2.1 Applying to petition
1.2.2 Proposal review/approval
1.2.3 Petition summary
1.3 Collecting signatures
1.3.1 Number required
1.3.2 Distribution requirements
1.3.3 Restrictions on circulators
1.3.4 Electronic signatures
1.3.5 Deadlines for collection
1.4 Getting on the ballot
1.4.1 Signature verification
1.4.2 Ballot title and summary
1.4.3 Fiscal review
1.5 The election and beyond
1.5.1 Supermajority requirements
1.5.2 Litigation
1.5.3 Legislative tampering
1.5.4 Re-attempting an initiative
1.6 Funding an initiative campaign
1.7 State statutes
2 Changes in the law

Citizens of Oklahoma may initiate legislation as either a state statute or a constitutional amendment. In Oklahoma, citizens also have the power to repeal legislation via veto referendum. The Oklahoma State Legislature may also place measures on the ballot as legislatively-referred constitutional amendments or legislatively-referred state statutes with a majority vote of each chamber.

Crafting an initiative

Of the 24 states that allow citizens to initiate legislation through the petition process, several states have adopted restrictions and regulations that limit the scope and content of proposed initiatives. These regulations may include laws that mandate that initiatives address only one topic, restrict the range of acceptable topics for proposed laws, prohibit unfunded mandates, and establish guidelines for adjudicating contradictory measures.

Single-subject rule

See also: Single-subject rule

Oklahoma has a single-subject rule for both initiated statutes and initiated amendments. However, the language of each requirement could be construed as applying only to legislative acts and legislatively-referred constitutional amendments, respectively. The cases below establish and clarify the application of these requirements to citizen-initiated measures.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Oklahoma Constitution, Article V, Section 57 (In re Initiative Petition No. 347) & Article XXIV, Section 1 (In re Initiative Petition No. 314)

Subject restrictions

See also: Subject restrictions (ballot measures)

Initiated measures and amendments are not governed by subject restrictions in Oklahoma. In addition, they are not required to specify a funding source for mandated expenditures.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Oklahoma Constitution, Article V, Sections 1-8, 57 ; Article XXIV, Sections 1-3 & Oklahoma Statutes, Title 34

Competing initiatives

See also: Superseding initiative; "Poison pills"; List of Oklahoma ballot measures

Oklahoma law provides that in the event that two measures conflict, the measure with the most affirmative votes supersedes the other on all points of conflict. The other measure is not wholly superseded.

Oklahoma law is unique in providing a second chance when two conflicting measures are both defeated. In situations where two similar measures conflict, voters in favor these measures' shared provisions may be divided over their differences. This can cause both measures to fail even if both sides would prefer either measure to no measure. In Oklahoma, if two conflicting measure are defeated, then the one with the most affirmative votes (provided it received at least 1/3 of the total vote for/against both measures) is resubmitted to voters at the next election.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Oklahoma Statutes, Title 34, Section 34-21

Starting a petition

Each initiative and referendum state employs a different procedure for filing petition applications. Some states require preliminary signatures while others do not. In addition, several states review each proposed statute, verifying that the law conforms to the style and conventions of state law and recommending alterations to initiative proponents. Some of these of these states also review the law for more substantive considerations of content and consistency. Also, many states conduct a review of the ballot title and summary, and several states employ a fiscal review process which analyzes proposed laws to determine their impact on state finances.[1][2][3]

Applying to petition

See also: Approved for circulation

Prior to collecting signatures, proponents of a ballot measure must file a copy of their petition with the Secretary of State. In addition, they must file separate copies of the measure's text with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General. (The text of the measure must also appear on the petitions.) Proponents should also file a short (200 words or less) ballot title with the Secretary, explaining the measure. (The title is not included on the petition.)

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Oklahoma Constitution, Article V, Section 2 & Oklahoma Statutes, Title 34, Sections 34-8(A) and 34-9(A,B)

Proposal review/approval

See also: Approved for circulation

The Secretary of State reviews the petition form and transmits the ballot title to the Attorney General for review. If the ballot title is inaccurate, biased, misleading, or difficult to read, the Attorney General makes the necessary revisions and returns the revised version to the Secretary. Once this review is complete, a notice of the filing is published in a paper of "general circulation" and the Secretary certifies the text of the measure and the final title with the State Election Board.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Oklahoma Statutes, Title 34, Section 34-9(A,B,D)

Fiscal review

See also: Fiscal impact statement

Oklahoma does not require a fiscal review of state ballot questions.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Oklahoma Constitution, Article V, Sections 1-8, 57 ; Article XXIV, Sections 1-3 & Oklahoma Statutes, Title 34

Collecting signatures

Each initiative and referendum state employs a unique method of calculating the state's signature requirements. Some states mandate a certain fraction of registered voters while others base their calculation on those who actually voted in a preceding election. In addition, many states employ a distribution requirement, dictating where in the state these signatures must be collected. Beyond these overarching requirements, many states regulate the manner in which signatures may be collected and the timeline for collecting them.

Number required

See also: Oklahoma signature requirements

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.

Year Amendment Statute Veto referendum
2014 155,216 82,782 51,739
2012 155,216 82,782 51,739
2010 219,400 117,013 73,134
2008 138,970 74,117 46,324
1994 208,554 111,229 -
1992 175,656 93,683 -
1990 175,656 - -
1989 136,489 - -

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Oklahoma Constitution, Article V, Section 2 & Section 6

Distribution requirements

See also: Distribution requirements

Oklahoma does not have a distribution requirement for petition signatures.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Oklahoma Constitution, Article V, Sections 1-8, 57 ; Article XXIV, Sections 1-3 & Oklahoma Statutes, Title 34

Restrictions on circulators

Pay-per-signature

See also: Pay-per-signature

Oklahoma does not ban paying circulators by the signature.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Oklahoma Constitution, Article V, Sections 1-8, 57 ; Article XXIV, Sections 1-3 & Oklahoma Statutes, Title 34

Out-of-state circulators

See also: Residency requirements for petition circulators

Oklahoma does not require signature gatherers to be state residents. It used to limit signature gathering to "qualified electors" (and thus residents), but this statute was overturned in Yes on Term Limits v. Savage.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Oklahoma Statutes, Title 34, Section 34-3.1 & Yes on Term Limits v. Savage

Badge requirements

See also: Badge requirements

Oklahoma law does not require the circulator's paid/volunteer status to be disclosed.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Oklahoma Constitution, Article V, Sections 1-8, 57 ; Article XXIV, Sections 1-3 & Oklahoma Statutes, Title 34

Electronic signatures

See also: Electronic petition signatures

Since electronic signatures are an emerging technology, the constitutionality of bans on e-signatures and the legality of e-signatures in states without bans is largely untested. Oklahoma law does mandate that petitions be printed on legal (8 1/2" x 14") paper.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Oklahoma Statutes, Title 34, Section 34-4

Deadlines for collection

See also: Petition drive deadlines; Circulation period

In Oklahoma, proponents may circulate a petition for 90 days after their initial filing. Measures are placed on the next general election ballot, but the Governor may call a special election or place the measure on the primary ballot. Oklahoma recommends that signatures be submitted 8 months prior to the election. However, signatures must be submitted 60 days before an election in order to be placed on that election's ballot.[4][5]

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Oklahoma Constitution, Article V, Section 3 & Oklahoma Statutes, Title 34, Section 34-25

Getting on the ballot

Once signatures have been collected, state officials must verify that requirements are met and that fraudulent signatures are excluded. States generally employ a random sample process or a full verification of signatures. After verification, the issue must be prepared for the ballot. This often involves preparing a fiscal review and ballot summary.

Signature verification

See also: Signature certification

Once the signatures have been gathered, the Secretary of State counts each signature, excluding any signatures or sheets that are not in the proper form and any signatures that are duplicated or fraudulent. The Secretary then submits this total (along with the vote totals relevant to calculating the signature requirement) to the Oklahoma Supreme Court which makes the final determination of sufficiency. The Secretary, upon receiving the determination of the court, is required to publish the results in a paper of "general circulation."

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Oklahoma Statutes, Title 34, Sections 34-6.1 and 34-8(G,H)

Ballot title and summary

See also: Ballot title

In Oklahoma, each measure is given two generic names--one designating its filing as a state question (State Question No. 744, State Question No. 745, State Question No. 746) and one designating its filing as an initiative, referendum, legislative referral (Initiative Petition No 391, Referendum Petition No. 23, Legislative Referendum No. 347). Each number is assigned according to the date of initial filing--whether or not the petition is ultimately placed on the ballot. Each series began with one. The first state question was referred by the state legislature and placed on the November 3, 1908 ballot.

The descriptive title is assigned during the initial review of the petition. It must fairly and accurately describe the measure in less than 200 words. In addition, it must be free of jargon, be written at an eighth grade reading level, and clearly represent the effect of a "yes" or "no" vote ("yes" votes must always be in favor of the proposition).

  • A sample ballot can be found here.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Oklahoma Statutes, Title 34, Section 34-7

The election and beyond

Ballot measures face additional challenges beyond qualifying for the ballot and receiving a majority of the vote. Several states require ballot measures to get more than a simple majority. While some states mandate a 3/5 supermajority, others states set the margin differently. In addition, ballot measures may face legal challenge or modification by legislators. If a ballot measure does fail, some states limit how soon that initiative can be re-attempted.

Supermajority requirements

See also: Supermajority requirements

In Oklahoma, each ballot measure requires only a simple majority of the votes cast for or against it.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Oklahoma Constitution, Article V, Section 3 ; Article XXIV, Section 1

Effective date

Oklahoma ballot measures take effect upon approval by voters.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Oklahoma Constitution, Article V, Section 3

Litigation

See also: Ballot measure lawsuit news

Two periods are allotted for challenging a measure, each dedicated to specific aspects of the initiative process:

1. For ten days after the publication of the ballot title, any citizen may challenge the constitutionality of the petition. Also during this period, any person may challenge a measure's ballot title. This challenge must contain a suggested alternative ballot title. Ballot titles for legislative referrals may not be challenged. The signature collection period, beginning with the initial filing, is not shortened by legal challenges. The 90-day limit restarts following the final decision on a challenge.
2. For ten days following the publication of the signature count results, any citizen may challenge the official signature count. Only the signature count may be contested during this period.

All challenges should be filed in the Oklahoma Supreme Court. If the Court determines that any challenge is frivolous, the Court may impose "appropriate sanctions, including an award of costs and attorneys fees to either party as the Court deems equitable."

Citizens in Charge, a non-profit that promotes initiative rights, makes the following observation about Oklahoma process for legal challenges: "There is no statutory requirement for the state to rule on [a ballot title] challenge. There have been instances when the court has taken over a year to make a ruling."[6]

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Oklahoma Statutes, Title 34, Sections 34-8, -10, -11

Legislative tampering

See also: Legislative tampering

The Oklahoma State Legislature may repeal an initiated statute with a simple majority vote. In order to change or repeal a constitutional amendment, lawmakers must place an amendment on the ballot via the ordinary referral process (a simple majority vote of each chamber).

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Oklahoma Constitution, Article V, Section 7

Re-attempting an initiative

In Oklahoma, no measure rejected by voters may be initiated again within three years unless proponents can gather signatures equal to 25% of the total vote cast for governor in the last gubernatorial election. Initiated amendments and statutes ordinarily require 15% and 8%, respectively.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Oklahoma Constitution, Article V, Section 6

Funding an initiative campaign

See also: Campaign finance requirements for Oklahoma ballot measures

Some of the features of Oklahoma's campaign finance laws are:

  • Ballot measure groups are called Political Action Committees in which they are treated the same as PAC's.
  • Oklahoma bans contributions made from one PAC to the other.
  • All campaign expenditures cannot exceed the fair market value regardless for which good or service was sold.
  • Oklahoma allows corporations and labor unions to donate to PAC's registered in support or opposition of a referendum.
  • Oklahoma requires 24 hour reporting for paid advertisements over $5,000.
  • Oklahoma requires 24 hour reporting for all campaign contributions over $500 in the last fourteen (14) days before an election.

State initiative law

Articles V and XXIV of the Oklahoma Constitution address initiatives.

Title 34 of the Oklahoma Statutes governs initiatives.

External links

References


Ballot law
BallotLaw final.png
State laws
Initiative law
Recall law
Statutory changes
Court cases
Lawsuit news
Ballot access rulings
Recent court cases
Petitioner access
Ballot title challenges
Superseding initiatives
Signature challenges
Laws governing
local ballot measures
Contents
1 Laws and procedures
2 Changes in the law
2.1 Proposed changes by year
2.1.1 2011
2.1.2 2010

The following laws have been proposed which modify ballot measure law in Oklahoma.

Proposed changes by year

2011

See also: Changes in 2011 to laws governing ballot measures

Bills that have or might be introduced in the 2011 session of the Oklahoma State Legislature include:


2010

See also: Changes in 2010 to laws governing ballot measures

The following proposals were made during the 2009-2010 session of the Oklahoma Legislature: