A Win for Democracy in Oklahoma
(Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) – Today, the Fairness Project declared a win for democracy in Oklahoma after a resolution to make it more difficult for voters to use ballot measures failed to move forward in the state Senate. The resolution, House Joint Resolution 1059, would require constitutional amendments to receive over 55% of the vote instead of a simple majority. The resolution was not advanced in the state Senate prior to a key legislative deadline, rendering it effectively dead for this session.
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.
Bills like HJR 1059 are a thinly veiled attempt by an extremist legislature to block citizen-led campaigns from placing questions on the ballot through Oklahoma’s referendum process. Attacks like this are exactly why Fairness Project launched the Ballot Measure Rescue Campaign to defend direct democracy across the country.
In reaction to this, Fairness Project Executive Director Kelly Hall released the following statement:
“Today, democracy in Oklahoma survived an under-the-radar attack. While this is a win for the ballot measure process in Oklahoma and beyond, attacks like HJR 1059 are popping up across the country. They’re on our radar, and Fairness Project is keeping watch. Through our Ballot Measure Rescue Campaign, we are activating campaigns to stop attacks on democracy and advance common-sense, popular policies that support working people and their families. When voters have the right to express their voices through ballot measures, they tend to choose policies that expand health care access and raise wages for their neighbors and communities, and that right must be protected.”