This blog post is not about who you should vote for! This is about our constitutional right to vote and being educated about our vote. We all know this election has been crazy and I for one wish that the presidential nominees were different people or that we could choose to not have a president until we found different candidates but it is what it is, so make an educated vote based on the issues not the person. In addition to voting for the president, vice president, senators, supreme court justices, and so on there are other issues to think about including state questions. Being prepared to vote is extremely important and you can prepare yourself easily by finding your sample ballot for this 2016 election. Since I live in Oklahoma I have done my research for this state and you can go to the Online Voter Tool and confirm your voter registration, find your polling place, check out the sample ballot and track your absentee ballot. If you do these things you can be sure to be prepared for this election, but state questions are a huge issue and I wanted to break down each of them because sometimes the wording can be confusing. These are all summarizations of each of these issues, so if you want to find more detailed information be sure to do your research. Also, I only used government websites to gather information, so that there wouldn’t be bias information. I hope all this helps and remember your vote matters!
State Question NO 776: this adds a new section to the Oklahoma Constitution and this deals with the death penalty. To summarize this means that the death penalty imposed is to remain active and cannot be reduced until carried out even if the method is deemed invalid after the fact. It also states that the execution method used in the death penalty is not cruel and unusual punishment.
State Question NO 779: this creates a limited purpose fund to improve public education by increasing sales and used tax by one cent per dollar. These funds will be used to increase teacher salaries, but will not be used to benefit administration salaries. In addition, this addresses teacher shortages, funds programs to improve reading in early grades, increase high school graduation rates, increase access to voluntary early learning opportunities for low-income and at-risk children, prepare in college and career readiness, and college affordability. In addition, this requires an annual audit of school districts use of the funds.
State Question NO 781: this creates the County Community Safety Investment Fund with costs saved from reclassifying certain property crimes and drug possession as misdemeanors. These funds must be distributed between counties for the use of rehabilitation programs such as mental health and substance abuse.
State Question NO 777: this guarantees rights to engage in farming and ranching, but does not distinguish between small farmers or big time agricultural companies. These rights include the right to make use of agricultural technology, use of livestock procedures, and the use of ranching practices. No were can I find exactly what these farming and ranching practices entail. What is the technology being used? What are the livestock procedures? What are these ranching practices? In addition, this does not allow lawmakers to interfere with these rights unless there is a compelling state interest of the highest order.
State Question NO 780: this measure amends the current Oklahoma laws and would change the classification of certain drug possession and property crimes from felony to misdemeanor. It would make possession of a limited amount of drugs a misdemeanor and would change the classification of certain drug possession crimes that are considered a felony and cases where the defendant has a prior drug possession conviction to misdemeanors. Also, this amendment would increase the dollar amount allowed to determine whether certain property crimes are considered a felony or misdemeanor.
State Question NO 790: this would remove Article 2, Section 5 of the Oklahoma Constitution, which prohibits the government from using public money or public property for the direct or indirect benefit of any religion or religious organization. Article 2, Section 5 has been determined by the Oklahoma courts to require the removal of a Ten Commandments monument from the grounds of the State Capitol. Therefore if this is passed the government would still be required to comply with the removal and would prevent the government from becoming involved with or endorsing any religion.
State Question NO 792: this would allow wine and beer to be allowed in licensed retail locations, such as grocery stores and allow retail spirit licensees, ie liquor stores, to sell other items such as lemons, limes, and mixers. In addition, this would allow wine to be directly shipped to the consumer. However, this would allow legislature to designate days and hours in which these alcoholic beverages could be sold and impose taxes on sales.