OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Recreational marijuana has more than enough verified signatures to go on the November election ballot.
Over 20,000 more to be exact.
However, it may not make the ballot anyway.
People with the Vote Yes On 820 campaign said it’s because the state took far too long to count and verify signatures.
It has been almost 50 days since signed petitions for legalized recreational marijuana were delivered to the Secretary of State’s office for verification to go on the November ballot.
On Monday, the Secretary of State’s office said 117,000 signatures were verified on the petitions, which is well more than the around 95,000 needed.
“So, we know people in Oklahoma want this and at least they want to vote on it,” said Michelle Tilley, with the Vote Yes on 820 campaign.
However, there is a problem.
“The state has really dropped the ball in their new count process,” Tilley said.
The state has a new private vendor and process used to verify and count the signatures. Tilley said that process took far too long because it took 48 days.
“That is unprecedented in Oklahoma. Generally, a petition of our size, it takes about 5 to 7 days to count,” Tilley said. “For example, the Medicaid expansion petition, which had twice as many signatures as ours, only took 17 days.”
The deadline to have things printed on the ballot is Aug. 26.
We are three days away, but there is still an issue.
“The count has to be certified by the court and we have to have a ten-day publication period in the newspaper,” Tilley said. “Unfortunately, that will all be completed just a few days after August 26.”
So, the campaign is asking the Oklahoma State Supreme Court to intervene. They hope they will have them go ahead and print it on the ballot while the process finishes. Tilley said they did everything they needed to do to get it on the ballot by election day.
“For us to have to wait another two years to vote on this would mean a delay in relief for those who are facing low-level marijuana offenses that would like expunged off their record,” Tilley said. “Plus, we’ll be missing out on millions of dollars in revenue to our schools, health care and local governments.”
If it doesn’t make the ballot, it will be placed on the ballot in a future election.
This is the statement the Secretary of State provided KFOR.
For the first time in memory, if not the history of our State, a true signature verification process for an initiative petition occurred and only signatories that were registered voters were counted. This new process differs significantly from the historical practice of merely counting the number of individuals who signed the petition without regard for their voter registration status. Our office has been in constant communication with the proponents and we look forward to working with them and other interested parties as we continue to improve this new process. “Oklahoma Secretary of State’s Office