With the election weeks away, the ACLU of Oklahoma announced today positions on five of the seven state questions set to appear on November’s ballot. We encourage all those who are eligible to make their voices heard in this election. Join the ACLU of Oklahoma and cast your vote for justice on November 8th!
NO on SQ 776
SQ 776 needlessly seeks to affirm the State of Oklahoma’s perceived right to execute its citizens. If passed, this measure would add a new section to the Oklahoma State Constitution, purporting to guarantee the right of the government to perform executions, empower the legislature to choose any method of execution, prohibit challenges to methods of execution, and prohibit the courts from ruling the death penalty unconstitutional. Because the 8th Amendment to the United States Constitution would supercede this new provision in the Oklahoma Constitution, its true effect would be to undermine the authority of the Oklahoma’s judiciary and force legal challenges to the death penalty to be filed in Federal Courts.
Opposition to the death penalty is higher than ever before in Oklahoma, due in no small part to Oklahoma’s incompetent and inhumane attempts to execute. At the ACLU we believe the State should never have the authority to kill its own people, or to engage in horrific human science experiments. SQ 776 asks Oklahomans the wrong question about the death penalty. Vote NO on SQ 776 and ask our policy makers to reckon with an irreparably broken and unjust system of death.
NO on SQ 777
Passage of SQ 777 would add a new section to the Oklahoma Constitution, allowing agriculture to receive the same level of protection as some of our most fundamental rights including the right to free speech and religious liberty. If approved, 777 would effectively prevent Oklahoma government from passing new laws to regulate the agriculture industry without the very high standard of “compelling state interest.” Elevating any corporate interest to this highest level of judicial scrutiny and making it extremely difficult for government to regulate industry is anti-democratic and could have far reaching and serious consequences. The ACLU of Oklahoma urges a NO vote.
YES on SQ 780
SQ 780 would reclassify simple drug possession as a misdemeanor. It would also change the felony threshold for property crimes from $500 to $1000. With our prisons at well over 100% capacity, the second highest incarceration rate in the country, and the highest incarceration of women, it’s clear that our current system is broken, unsustainable, and does nothing to keep our communities together and safe. Together with one of the most ideologically diverse coalitions in Oklahoma’s history, the ACLU of Oklahoma urges a YES vote on 780.
Yes on SQ 781
SQ 781 is presented with SQ 780. If passed, 781 would distribute the cost savings from 780 to the counties to invest in a wide range of alternatives to incarceration like mental health services and drug treatment programs. Given the current economic climate and the human crisis caused by mass incarceration, SQ 781 is a step in the right direction toward ensuring those who need services can have ready access to them in their communities.
NO on SQ 790
SQ 790 seeks to remove Article 2, Section 5 from the Oklahoma Constitution. Article 2, Section 5 prohibits the use of public money or property for the benefit or support of religion. SQ 790 is a reckless attempt to weaken the religious liberty protections guaranteed by the Oklahoma Constitution. While SQ 790 is being treated as a referendum on the Ten Commandments Monument, it is much more than that. This ballot measure is an affront to principles of religious liberty that have been with us since our nation’s founding and were so fundamental that the founders of our state saw fit to enshrine in our own constitution. Oklahomans of faith and Oklahomans of no religious faith at all can agree that the matters of belief are too important to be left to politicians. A vote against 790 is a vote in favor of religious freedom.
For more information on voting rights, please visit our voting rights page.
If you have any trouble voting or believe your right to vote has been violated in any way, please contact the ACLU of Oklahoma at acluok.org or (405) 524-8511.