Washington, DC – This week, lawmakers in Oklahoma City advanced legislation to limit direct democracy and restrict the ballot measure process in the state. As Trevor Brown from Oklahoma Watch writes

“The state House of Representatives approved four joint resolutions Tuesday that would require constitutional amendments to receive over 55% of the vote, make the state auditor responsible for determining projected costs of state questions and install new, tougher requirements for citizen-led initiatives to qualify for the ballot.”

Some are viewing these onerous restrictions as payback for the success of citizen-driven measures in the recent past. Brown continues:

“Democrats and some advocacy groups have labeled the proposal as retribution for the passage of several high-profile state questions opposed by the governor and many in the GOP-dominated Legislature. Since 2016, voters through citizen-led initiatives have expanded Medicaid to more than 200,000 low-income Oklahomans, changed several drug and non-violent crimes from felonies to misdemeanors and made Oklahoma one of the nation’s largest and most accessible medical marijuana markets.”

In reaction to this story, Fairness Project Executive Director Kelly Hall released the following statement:

“Sadly, this effort to short-circuit democracy and take power out of the hands of voters is finding new conservative backers in state after state. When voters have the opportunity to express their voice through ballot measures, they tend to choose policies that expand health care access and raise wages for their neighbors and communities. Fairness Project lives and breathes ballot measures We get involved in ballot measure campaigns when extremist or polarized politics obstruct progress on common-sense, popular policies that support working families. And through our Ballot Measure Rescue Campaign, we are activating campaigns to prevent attacks on direct democracy, just like with Oklahoma. They’re on our radar, and we’re keeping watch.”


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