Although we’re still a bottom 10 state in a lot of areas, over the past few years, Oklahoma has made some progress in two surprising fields – criminal justice reform and medical marijuana legalization.
This progress is primarily thanks to non-profit coalitions, volunteer groups, and Oklahoma voters, who – after years of watching our cowardly, do-nothing conservative lawmakers pander to their base with unconstitutional legislation, while kicking important real-life issues in a can down the road – passed new reform laws via citizen driven petition initiatives that put state questions on the ballot.
This right of the Oklahoma voters to get shit done, and pass much-needed reforms on their own, hasn’t set too well with rural Derplahoman lawmakers who want to impose their sanctimonious ideology and moral code upon the majority.
Led by Oklahoma lawmaker Rep. John Pfeiffer, pictured above, Derplahomans in the legislature are now fighting to get a state question on the ballot that would give Oklahoma voters a chance to vote to make it harder for Oklahoma voters to pass meaningful reforms via ballot initiatives.
Here are details via The Oklahoman:
Some Republican lawmakers are seeking to change the initiative petition process by which Oklahoma voters can try to put issues on the ballot for a statewide vote.
Proposed legislation seeks to change the signature-gathering requirements for initiative petitions and increase transparency of the campaigns pushing ballot measures.
Legislation from Rep. John Pfeiffer, R-Orlando, would require initiative petition campaigns to collect signatures from each of Oklahoma’s five congressional districts.
Under House Joint Resolution 1027, in order to qualify for the ballot, a petition would need to get signatures from 8% of registered voters in each congressional district for statutory changes to Oklahoma law. For constitutional changes, petitions would need to get signatures from 15% of registered voters in each district. Referendum petitions would need signatures from 5% of registered voters in each district.
That’s a great idea! When I think of all the different ways to make Oklahoma a better state, making it harder for citizens to overcome their terrible representation and pass laws on their own is near the top of the list!
If this A) somehow makes its way onto the ballot and B) a majority of Oklahoma voters actually vote to limit their own powers, it will make getting a state question on the ballot via the petition process even more difficult. Check out the math:
Roughly 15% of that means a petition seeking a constitutional change could have to turn in around 313,000 signatures as opposed to the current 177,957 signatures, which is based on 15% of the votes cast in the 2018 gubernatorial general election. Roughly 5% of the state’s registered voters means a referendum petition would require around 104,000 signatures, as opposed to the current 59,319 signatures required.
Here’s what Pfeiffer said to justify his stupid idea:
“Right now, you can get all of the signatures from Oklahoma City and Tulsa and get all the votes you need to pass it from Oklahoma City and Tulsa,” he said. “It just leaves the rest of the state out in the cold.”
Yeah, that doesn’t make any sense.
At last check, people vote… not cities. There’s not a straight ticket “city / rural” option on the ballot like there is for political parties. Whether you live in Oklahoma City or Tulsa, or Oologah or Tushka, you still live in Oklahoma, and your vote still counts the same as every other Oklahoman’s vote.
Plus, if a majority of our state’s residents live in cities, and those residents get enough signatures to get a state question on the ballot, and those residents cast enough “yes” votes in a statewide election to make a proposal a law, what’s wrong? I’m pretty sure that’s how Democracy is supposed to work. If that leaves you feeling “out in the cold,” put on a jacket, move to a city, and maybe read a book on a civics or something.