Crowe & Dunlevy attorneys offer decades of experience in advising and assisting clients in proposing and opposing, crafting and enacting statutes, legislative measures and constitutional amendments.
History of Experience and Success
Our firm has been involved in some fashion regarding nearly every Oklahoma statewide initiative petition placed on the ballot in the last 50 years, handling more initiative petitions than any other firm in the state.
We are adept at shepherding initiatives through the state’s petition process. In fact, of the 23 initiative petitions filed with the Oklahoma Secretary of State since the last general election, only the three in which our firm represented the proponents—IP403/SQ799, IP404/SQ780, and IP405/SQ781—made it through Oklahoma’s complex initiative petition process and onto the 2016 ballot.*
Crowe & Dunlevy attorneys regularly advise proponents on drafting, circulating, and filing initiative petitions as well as assist initiative opponents in protesting initiatives through pre-election constitutional and legal sufficiency challenges. We are experienced in litigating ballot measure legality and signature validity issues, as well as in prosecuting ballot title and other types of challenges in the Oklahoma Supreme Court.
Our attorneys also have experience forming nonprofit and other entities to advocate for initiatives, advising on ethics and reporting requirements, and handling the many other details required for a successful initiative petition campaign.
In recent years, we have represented the proponents of numerous initiative petitions, including:*
- In re Initiative Petition No. 403, State Question No. 779, 2016 OK 1; OCPA Impact, Inc. v. Sheehan, 2016 OK 84: Assisted in drafting a measure to provide funding for Oklahoma’s beleaguered public education system and shepherding it through the initiative petition process; then successfully defended it from two different Supreme Court challenges brought by an anti-tax group (one raising a constitutional single subject rule challenge, and the other asserting insufficiency of the petition’s gist). The measure ultimately appeared on the 2016 general election ballot.
- Steele v. Pruitt, 2016 OK 87: Successfully challenged misleading and partial ballot title drafted by Attorney General regarding a criminal justice reform initiative, enabling the Supreme Court to draft its own, neutral ballot title. With a proper ballot title, the measure was ultimately approved by a vote of the people in the 2016 general election.
- In re Initiative Petition No. 319, State Question No. 563, 1984 OK 23: Successfully defended a liquor-by-the-drink initiative petition measure from both a constitutional challenge and a signature protest, allowing it to be placed on the ballot and approved by a vote of the people.
We have represented protestants as well, including:
- In re Initiative Petition No. 384, State Question No. 731, 2007 OK 48: Successfully challenged the legal sufficiency of the gist of initiative petition that would have promulgated laws regulating education expenditures. The measure was ultimately declared invalid and stricken from the ballot.
- In re Initiative Petition No. 379, State Question No. 726, 2006 OK 89: Represented protestants in successfully challenging the sufficiency of the signatures in support of a Taxpayer Bill of Rights initiative. The measure was declared invalid for illegality and fraud in the signature collection process.
The Petition Process – The Steps and Variables
Our Initiative Petitions Practice Group has created a layman’s chart to explain the petition process. This chart pertains to Title 34 Oklahoma Statutes in regard to a filing a petition, gathering signatures and beyond. For further details, contact one of our attorneys in the Initiative Petitions Practice Group.
Contact us for information regarding initiative petitions.
*Past results afford no guarantee of future results. Every case is different and must be judged on its merits.