Regular readers know that I’ve had my share of troubles in Oklahoma, where a politically-motivated Attorney General abused his office years ago to threaten myself and other initiative petitioners. Thankfully, we won that battle.
Now, with a critical election nearly upon us, there’s a different problem in Oklahoma. Put another way, there’s a big opportunity.
On the ballot in just a week is State Question 750, which will make it a little less onerous for citizens to qualify initiative and referendum measures for future ballots.
Of all initiative states in the country, Oklahoma is the most difficult to put an issue on the ballot. The state mandates the highest percentage of signatures in the entire nation, while also setting the second shortest period for folks to circulate petitions, a mere 90 days.
Currently, Oklahoma determines the petition signature requirement by the office with the highest number of votes cast in the last election. This means that after every presidential election the signature requirement shoots up by as much as 40 percent!
Which, in turn, shoves aside the possibility for voters to reform government and hold it accountable.
State Question 750 would, instead, set the petition requirement to match the totals to the votes on gubernatorial elections. This would remove the roller-coaster fluctuations after each election. More importantly, it would significantly lower the signature requirement — by about 40 percent.
But there is a rather serious problem. SQ 750 is slightly behind in the polls — with a surprisingly large number of voters undecided.
Well, I’m convinced it’s because the ballot title for SQ 750 is plodding and abstruse, while also offering a negative spin.
Can you guess who wrote it?
The cockamamie title was prepared by none other than Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson. Yes, Edmondson’s the same politician who tried to throw me (and two other innocent activists) in jail on trumped up charges that, later, he was forced to dismiss and expunge.
When AG Edmondson launched his political witch-hunt against those of us who seek limits on government spending, we fought back. As that battle began, a friend urged me to set out some goals. Here are the five goals I set out three years ago and where we stand on each one:
1. Win our legal case.
- We won. All charges were dismissed and our indictment expunged from the record.
2. Make Mr. Edmonson a private citizen after the next election.
- Edmonson was defeated in the Democratic primary back in July.
3. Overturn the state’s residency law.
- The law was struck down as unconstitutional.
4. Term-limit all statewide officials — most necessarily the Attorney General. (Edmondson has been AG for the last 16 years.)
- The term limits amendment, State Question 747, is on this November’s ballot.
5. Open up the initiative and referendum process in Oklahoma.
- In 2009, we assisted Oklahoma activists in passing three bills through the state legislature to make the petition process more open and accessible. One of those bills is SQ 750, a constitutional amendment, which is on the ballot this November — along with term limits.
Passing SQ 750 cannot help but have some personal meaning for me. More consequential, however, is the impact its passage — or failure — will have on our campaign to protect and expand the initiative process all across this country. We cannot afford to have the strong public support for the initiative hijacked by a convoluted ballot title from a disgraced AG on his way to the political dustbin.
One thing is clear: If Oklahoma voters know what State Question 750 is all about, they will pass it — with a solid majority.
Let’s help inform them.
A serious statewide radio campaign, reaching the Oklahoma electorate in this final week, costs a very serious $68,000. This is heavy saturation for the last 7 days of the campaign.
The radio spot will help voters cut through the AG’s smokescreen and grasp the significance of a YES vote on SQ 750 by reminding folks that the initiative process makes reforms like term limits possible. You can listen to the radio spot here.
Citizens in Charge has already begun airing this radio advertisement statewide. But we desperately need to run it more frequently and on more stations if we are to reach enough voters.
To do that, we must raise another $14,000 by close of business today — or early tomorrow, at the absolute latest.
Please help at this critical moment. We can purchase an additional spot on a statewide network of stations for $750. A contribution of $100 will cover another 60-second play on an individual station in Oklahoma City or Tulsa. And in the Sooner State’s smaller markets, your gift of $25 or $50 means another audience will hear us.
Would you consider contributing $750, $250, $100, $50 or $25 of the remaining $14,000 to reach the electorate and win?
You are the freedom fighter that the forces of big, unaccountable government so badly underestimate. Thanks in advance for your consideration. Please contribute online here.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.
P.S. This has been a super successful year for Citizens in Charge Foundation & Citizens in Charge, with not a single significant anti-initiative bill passing in the entire nation and with important victories in court cases brought in Colorado, Missouri, Ohio, Utah and Washington. Now, with your support, we have an opportunity to secure a major win at the ballot box in Oklahoma. Your gift will directly help put citizens in charge in Oklahoma.
P.P.S. Oklahoma doesn’t start early voting until the final weekend before Election Day, so we can still reach all the voters. I have no crystal ball, but I feel this radio ad campaign will make the difference between winning and losing.