One measure on Tuesday's ballot would require a huge boost in state spending on common education. A second ballot measure is intended to prevent the first from taking effect.
If both fail, a state law on "competing measures" could mean the one receiving the most overall votes — both for and against — automatically reappears in two years for the next general election.
If both are approved, the law says the one with the most "yes" votes would be the one that takes effect.
As a practical matter, in either situation, the court system will likely have to determine the outcome of the election, the state attorney general's office says.
"You have to determine whether they are truly conflicting questions under the statute," said Charlie Price, spokesman for the attorney general's office. "It's going to be a decision that would probably end up at the Supreme Court."
However, the authors of both of the ballot initiatives say it is fairly clear-cut what would happen in the scenario where both state questions are approved.
State Statute 34-21 deals with "competing measures" on ballots and states "if two or more conflicting laws shall be approved by the people at the same election, the law receiving the greatest number of affirmative votes shall be paramount."
"I don't see any way they are not competing measures," said Kent Meyers, an Oklahoma attorney who has written a dozen ballot initiatives for clients including SQ 744. "If you vote for 744 you ought to vote against 754."
To his knowledge conflicting ballot questions have never been approved.
Rep. Leslie Osborn, who authored SQ 754, said she interprets the law the same.
Osborn said she authored the bill that put SQ 754 on the ballot for two reasons: "to purge 744" if it was approved, and to ensure that no other agency or special interest could seek a mandatory funding law.
"I just equate that to the bully on the playground saying that 'I deserve to be different,'" Osborn said of SQ 744.
"We are probably going to get 744 beaten back, but it took millions of dollars and it was exhausting. We don't want to have to do that every time there is an election."
But the battle could actually be automatically rekindled in two years if both measures fail.
The automatic resubmission occurs if the defeated measure that receives the most total votes both for and against it, also receives more than a third of the total votes cast in both elections.
For example if 100,001 people vote on SQ 744 and 100,000 people vote on SQ 754 and they both fail, then SQ 744 would automatically reappear on the next general election because it received the most overall votes and received more than a third of the total votes — 200,001 — that were cast.
Told of the provision in state law regarding competing ballot measures that both fail, Osborn said she wasn't familiar with this issue.
"I just cannot imagine as many forums as I've attended as many lawyers who have looked at this, that it would come up five days before the election," she said.
AT A GLANCE
What would SQ 744 do?
It calls for public education funding in Oklahoma to be equal to the regional average spent per-student in six states surrounding Oklahoma.