Moe Jordan had to adjust his eyes to read the language of the 11 state questions on the back of a sample ballot for the November election.
"I don't have my glasses with me," said Jordan, who wore sunglasses and a University of Oklahoma T-shirt while strolling through the grounds of the State Fair last week.
"I'm going to absolutely read this before I go to the polls," he said. "It looks like a lot of questions for one election."
The November ballot may be one of the longest in state history. In addition to deciding which candidate to support for governor, attorney general, state superintendent of education and others, voters will have to turn over their ballot and wade through nearly 2,000 words of state questions with yes and no answers.
The last time a November ballot was that full was in 1984, said Lee Slater, an Oklahoma City attorney who served as the election board secretary from 1977 to 1988. In that election, there were 10 state questions on the ballot.
Numbers from that election showed the number of people voting for the state questions decreased as they moved down the ballot, he said.
"It's what we like to call ballot fatigue," Slater said. "There's a significant drop off between the first question and the second, and so on. For some people, they just said, 'To heck with it,' and didn't vote at all."
While the election is a little more than a month away, many people are still surprised at all the questions included on the back of the ballot. Many will have to set aside some time to digest the questions, said Andre Francisco, a voter from Oklahoma City.
Francisco and his wife will look the state questions up online and read through them before going to the polls. But he's not confident all voters will do that.
"I think people will probably vote no because they won't know what they are," he said.
Most voters probably won't be aware that it will take them a little longer to cast their ballots, said Ruth Mikles, who has worked elections in the Guymon area for years. "Looks like they're changing a bunch of laws," she said. "It's a lot of questions and a lot of stuff to confuse everybody."
Only one ballot measure, State Question 744, was put on the ballot by citizens collecting signatures. SQ 744 would mandate the level of education funding based on the per pupil expenditure average of surrounding states.
Some of the ballot measures must go before voters because the legislation adds to or changes a portion of the state's constitution. Other measures are on the ballot because legislation had been vetoed by Democratic Gov. Brad Henry and the Republican-led House and Senate wanted to put the measure before a vote of the people.
The questions cover a range of topics:
Funding education to meet the regional average for per pupil expenditure.
Requiring photo identification for voters.
Term limits for all statewide elected officials.
Changes to the panel that updates legislative districts every 10 years.
Lowering the number of signatures needed to get a measure on the ballot.
Making English the official language for state
Changes to how judges are appointed.
Prohibiting legislative appropriations based on what other states do.
Forbidding Oklahoma courts from using international law.
Allowing Oklahoma to opt out of a national health care plan.
Increasing the amount of money the state must save in its Rainy Day Fund to 15 percent from 10
"If they wait until they go into the voting booth to try to figure out what to do with 11 state questions, it's too late," Slater said. "They need to know what's on the ballot before they go into the polling place. They need to try to read the ballot title on all those questions, and it's not always the easiest to understand. It can be very complicated."