The Norman Transcript

Opinion

July 8, 2014

Getting out the vote

NORMAN — Both sides of the state’s political aisle have been known to use state questions to bring out the vote in the November General Election.

A cockfighting issue in 2002 brought out extra rural Democrats and helped propel Brad Henry into the governor’s chair. The Sharia Law question in 2010 drew conservative Republicans to the polling place and helped usher a statewide sweep of the state’s top elected positions and control of both houses of the legislature for the GOP.

Pundits are viewing this year’s initiatives involving storm shelters and medical marijuana to see how it will impact other races on the ballots. Petitions are being circulated to gather enough signatures to put both issues on the ballot. The Associated Press’ Capitol reporter Sean Murphy reported that Democrats think both issues will likely bring out younger voters.

Younger voters may be more inclined to support legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes. If they have children in public schools, they may be more likely to want the state to fund storm shelters for all schoolchildren.

Those younger voters might also lean toward state Rep. Joe Dorman, the Rush Springs Democrat who is his party’s nominee for governor. He has not taken a position on medical marijuana, telling the AP’s Murphy, “I will say this one will be up to the voters, and Oklahomans will get to decide if this is a policy that should go into effect or not.”

Early on, Dorman, who is term limited this year, was the driving force behind the school shelter initiative. It was the single issue that caused him to change his direction from being a candidate for county commission to being a candidate for governor.

But now he has distanced himself from the shelter signature campaign because he doesn’t want politics to torpedo the effort, he told the Associated Press.

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