My voter guide (Oklahoma)

First of all, if you don't know which precinct you are in, check Google -- the service gives you your polling location and driving/walking/transit directions to your voting place from your home.  Vote tomorrow (Tues).

There are 10 state questions on the ballot this year. I wish there were none -- the whole point about a representative democracy is that we elect representatives who can then research the issues and make decisions. Because of this, my default position (unless I feel strongly otherwise) is to vote against anything that hampers the legislature.  This is even though Oklahoma's legislature is hide-bound, arch-conservative and retrograde.

These are my thoughts on the state questions. If I'm missing something about these measures, let me know in the comments.

SQ744:  This would force the state to spend at least the average of the surrounding states on K-12 education. It is prompted by the fact that Oklahoma is 49th in the nation on school spending, spending less even than Arkansas and New Mexico (which are poorer).  I'm sympathetic to the argument, because the OK legislature would rather spend time trying to allow teachers to lead prayers than to pay them properly. However, the measure is flawed -- every state trying to spend at least the average will only mean that the average keeps going up. And the clincher is that SQ744 will never allow spending to go down: "When the average amount spent by surrounding states declines, Oklahoma must spend the amount it spent the year before".  We need to elect better legislators who will fund K-12 education as a priority, but not preemptively tie their hands. So, I suggest a vote of NO.

SQ746:  Requires proof of identity in order to vote.  This is trying to fix something that's not broke. Vote NO.

SQ747:  Imposes term limits. This is a way of ensuring that there are only amateurs in government. Vote NO.

SQ748: Changes the composition of the state commission that will do redestricting if the state legislature can not agree. It's a backup that's never been necessary, but that doesn't mean it won't come in handy some day. The composition is bipartisan and seems reasonable.  Vote YES.

SQ750: Makes it easier to do state initiatives. More refererundums I don't need.  Vote NO.

SQ751: Makes English the only language the state can do business in.  Pointless and xenophobic. Vote NO.

SQ752: Makes the nomination of judges more political. Vote NO.

SQ754: Ties the hand of future legislatures with regard to funding of state functions. Vote NO.  Ensures that questions like SQ744 do not crop up again. Ensures that spending decisions are left to a budget appropriations process and not to state referendums. Vote YES.

SQ755: Forbids the state from considering international "or sharia" law. Pointless and xenophobic. Vote NO.

SQ756: Forbids mandatory health care participation. Without this, you can not have universal health insurance and since hospitals have to treat anyone who comes in for emergency care, removing the mandate will just increase the taxes of anyone who has health insurance and provide incentive to free riders.  Vote NO.

SQ757: Will increase the rainy day fund from 10% to 15% of revenue in boom years. Since the state can not run deficits, rainy day funds are a good thing and with oil prices predicted to get more volatile as it gets scarcer, this is a good idea.  Vote YES.

As for candidates, I've never voted straight party line, but the republicans are starting to scare me.  So, I'm voting for the Democrats down the line.  I don't know anything about any of the judges (why do we vote for judges anyway?), but one of my friends recommended Tracy Schumacher.  I'll probably leave the rest of the judges blank.

1 comment:

  1. Great insight! Thanks for clearing a few things up for me. I appreciate it.