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Voters may be surprised by lengthy Oklahoma state question ballot in November

November ballot includes 11 state questions
BY JULIE BISBEE Modified: September 27, 2010 at 12:56 am •  Published: September 26, 2010

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."

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