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State questions rejected

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Governor Kevin Stitt speaks during a press conference giving an update on the state’s response to COVID-19 on September 1, 2020 at the McKnight Center in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

With over 3 million ballots casted, State Questions 805 and 814 were both rejected by Oklahoma voters on Election Day. 

State Question 805 would have ended the practice of extending sentences for nonviolent offenses further than the statutory maximum sentence due to previous nonviolent convictions. The initiative was rejected by 61% of voters

Supporters of the measure were seeking to lower Oklahoma’s incarceration rate by reducing the sentences of nonviolent offenders. Those against the proposal expressed concern over which crimes are considered nonviolent in Oklahoma and maintained that SQ 805 would increase recidivism.

Sarah Edwards, President of Yes on 805 said, “Tonight, we hope that members of our legislature and the Governor will live up to their word to take action to tackle our state’s extreme sentencing laws. We have built a powerful bipartisan movement that will continue to fight for common-sense reforms in the months ahead.”

With a slightly lesser vote share, State Question 814 was rejected by 59% of voters. If approved, 75% of annual payments from a 1998 settlement with tobacco companies would have been used to fund Medicaid expansion. The Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) will continue to receive 75% of those funds, while 25% will continue to be allocated by the state legislature. 

Those in favor of the measure thought it to be an opportunity to fund a significant portion of Medicaid expansion. Opponents of SQ 814, however, worried that the reduction in funds would hurt existing health programs funded by TSET.