Archive for the ‘Oklahoma Civil Rights Initiative’ Category

Does this look Familiar?

April 1, 2008

Last Fall, OKPNS reported on the harassment techniques being used in Oklahoma to intimidate citizens from signing petitions. The Oklahoma Civil Rights Initiative, the signatures for which were being collected in this video, is still in limbo, with the right of Oklahomans to vote on the issue being debated.

OKPNS has covered extensively the attempts by Oklahoma’s attorney General Drew Edmondson to block the citizen initiative process, in the case of the “Oklahoma 3,” in which Paul Jacob and two others are facing possible prison sentences of up to ten years on technicalities of Oklahoma residency requirements.

This problem, of trying to intimidate citizens who want to petition their state government is not isolated to Oklahoma. In this video, a township in the Detroit, MI area are facing the problem of state employees trying to physically block township citizens from signing a petition to recall a politician.

More on this here.

Will Oklahomans be able to Vote on the Oklahoma Civil Rights Initiative, or Not?

March 19, 2008

Some citizens of Oklahoma are wanting the Oklahoma Civil Rights Initiative is scheduled to be on the November 2008 ballot. The operative clause of the proposed Oklahoma ballot initiative reads as follows:

The state shall not discriminate against or grant preferential treatment to any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education or public contracting.

Whether or not Oklahomans will have the opportunity to vote on this issue will depend on the findings of the Secretary of State, Susan Savage, who stated that the petition had a “large number” of duplicate names and addresses, as reported by the Oklahoman. The petition is being opposed by the ACLU, which does not want the question answered by the voters of Oklahoma.

Ballotpedia explains the opposition:

In early October, an organized petition blocking campaign to prevent circulators from successfully collecting signatures was initiated. The “Decline to Sign Coalition” is led by Oklahoma City representative Mike Shelton. Shelton has also proposed legislation in the Oklahoma legislature that would make it illegal to pay circulators on a per-signature basis. Proponents of the ballot measure argue that the “Decline to Sign” movement is similar to the ultimately unsuccessful efforts in Michigan in 2006 to prevent the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative from reaching the ballot.

The opposition to the measure has included the personal harrassment of petition gatherers, as shown in the video shown here.

Note that the controversy at this point is not about whether the state can “discriminate against or grant preferential treatment to any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin.” The controversy is over whether Oklahomans have a say in the matter.