Oklahoma Secretary of State Michael Rogers has paused all ballot initiative petition signature-gathering efforts in the state putting the cannabis legalization efforts in the state on hold and in doubt, the Oklahoman reports. Gov. Kevin Stitt declared a 30-day state of emergency on March 15 and Rogers halted all campaign efforts until the declaration is “affirmatively withdrawn.”
Ryan Kiesel, a proponent of SQ 807, told the Oklahoman that even after the order is withdrawn it would be “really difficult, if not impossible to imagine a scenario in which an initiative petition campaign could responsibly and feasibly collect the signatures necessary in order to make the 2020 ballot if that campaign doesn’t already have the signatures on hand.”
“It would be irresponsible for anyone to try to collect signatures in this environment. It would put signature collectors in danger and it would put the general public in danger.” – Kiesel to the Oklahoman
The campaign – which aims to change the state constitution – needs to collect 178,000 signatures in 90 days to qualify for November ballots.
Andy Moore, executive director of People Not Politicians, which is seeking to change the way legislative and congressional districts are drawn in the state, said any campaign’s success this election season is “pretty unlikely.”
The secretary of state did not expand the deadline, which remains August 24, and the office typically requires two to three weeks to count and verify the signatures and campaigns like to have a cushion in case they are challenged in court. Moore said he is working with lawmakers to see if they could allow online signature gathering for initiative petitions but because legislative leaders oppose the redistricting and cannabis legalization reforms, it’s unlikely they will allow the process to be conducted online.