Archive for the ‘Petition’ 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.

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Petitioning your State Government is Getting More and More Difficult

February 21, 2008

Michael McNutt of the Capitol Bureau reports that the House subcommittee on elections and redistricting passed two measures yesterday, to be heard by the House Rules Committee, which would make collecting signatures in Oklahoma more difficult. The measures are aimed at preventing fraudulent and duplicate signatures on ballots.

HB 2869, by Rep. Mike Shelton, D-Oklahoma City, would require those passing petitions be registered voters of Oklahoma. State law now just states they have to be qualified electors.

His bill also would prohibit those collecting signatures to be paid for each signature they collect.

[…]

HB 3350, by Rep. Randy Terrill, R-Oklahoma City, is a similar bill aimed at trying to refine the initiative petition process. His measure beefs up the penalties for those who collect fraudulent signatures as well as for those who fraudulently sign petitions.

Paul Jacob, who is one of the “Oklahoma 3” being tried right now for allegedly collecting signatures as non-residents of Oklahoma (allegations which are demonstrably untrue, according to Paul Jacob, Susan Johnson, and Rick Carpenter).

When I spoke to Mr. Jacob on in January, one of the things he explained to me was that for a citizen, deciding to begin an initiative (e.g. for term limits, spending limits, government accountability, etc..) requires that citizen to count the cost, personally, and those costs can be astromical, personally and professionally. There is an enormous amount of time (away from family, career, personal life), and often a huge financial burden involved. But when the additional cost of legal retaliation by the government becomes a consideration, many citizens decide they simply cannot take that risk, and will “shut up.”

Jacob’s goal, in working through his own legal battle, through his foundation (Citizens in Charge), through the Sam Adams Alliance and Foundation, and now through the “Save the Initiative Blog Tour” is to reduce the fear of such legal action against citizens by their government.