Controversy swirling about handling of State Question 788 ballots

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Voters across the state headed to the polls on Tuesday to cast their votes on several high-profile races and a controversial state question.

However, some voters say there was a bit of confusion when it came to who was given the state question ballots.

Tim York was at his polling place on S. Pennsylvania Ave. in Oklahoma City bright and early Tuesday morning.

"I've voted in every primary, every presidential election since I can remember,” said York.

He says he was taken aback when a polling worker asked him a question about State Question 788.

"Showed my ID's and then I was asked the question, 'Do you want to vote on the state question?' I'm thinking - is that an option?" said York.

Other voters say they actually had to ask for that ballot.

"They handed me my political affiliation ballot this morning and I had to ask them for the state question,” said Kevin Cosby, who voted in Pottawatomie County.

"We've had multiple complaints that these guys are just giving out the one piece of paper and they're really just trying to make people think, 'Hey there's nothing else to vote for.' Vote and get out so that they don't vote on State Question 788,” said Jeremiah Reynalds, with the group 'Legalize It Oklahoma.'

Reynalds said they were encouraging their followers to make complaints to the Oklahoma State Election Board.

"That seems like a little bit of trickery is what we're saying,” said Reynalds.

State Question 788 would legalize medical marijuana in Oklahoma.

Bill Cavanaugh voted in Arcadia Tuesday morning and says he did not receive his state question ballot. When he went to ask for it, he was told he would have to get back in line.

Cavanaugh says the line was too long and he had to leave without casting his vote on State Question 788.

"We regret any circumstance where it wasn't handled properly. But I can assure you there was no mal-intent. No one's trying to not let someone vote on a particular ballot,” said Doug Sanderson, with the Oklahoma County Election Board.

Sanderson says every voter should automatically get the state question ballot, regardless of party affiliation.

After receiving a complaint Tuesday morning, they sent monitors to all polling places to remind workers. He says they trained them on that process extensively before the election.

"We went over it thoroughly at training. Then when we assign them to a precinct, we also sent that exact checklist that we went over in training to them,” said Sanderson.

Voters are left wondering if it’s simple forgetfulness or something more.

"It seems kind of odd that it's happening in multiple places and multiple counties,” said Cosby.

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