State Senator Jeff Rabon urged the Oklahoma Attorney General on Wednesday to coordinate a statewide investigation into the “hijacking of democracy” by out-of-interests seeking a statewide vote on TABOR.
Rabon pointed to the arrest last week of a teenage TABOR petition circulator who was in alleged violation of his parole from Massachusetts and two incidents in Tulsa Tuesday where petition circulators attempted to gather signatures inside polling places on Election Day. One of the TABOR supporters was a precinct worker who was relieved of her duties.
“These can no longer be looked at as isolated incidents. Out-of-state organizations have poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into this effort. They have hired under-age, out-of-state residents to collect signatures, which is against state law. They are campaigning for TABOR inside our polling places. They’ve had at least one person wanted on a felony warrant circulating their petition. Who knows what else they’re up to?” Rabon said.
Rabon said enforcement of the laws related to circulating initiative petitions has thus far taken place because of complaints from concerned citizens. That’s not sufficient, the Senator said.
“Law enforcement needs to be on the look out for violations of these laws. The initiative petition – the people’s right to bring an issue to a vote – is one of the core principals of democracy and it’s being exploited and hijacked by out-of-state interests,” Rabon said.
Rabon also said that college and university officials should make sure TABOR petition circulators are complying with state laws and institutional guidelines.
The Senator pointed out that TABOR proponents have raised more than $300,000 in their effort to gather the more than 219,000 signatures needed to get the TABOR issue on the ballot. Most of that money, used in great part to pay people to gather signatures, has come from out-of-state organizations.
“You have to wonder why they have to use out-of-state money to buy a statewide vote on TABOR. We cannot let special interest groups from Colorado, Illinois and Washington D.C. hijack our initiative petition process. Democracy is too precious of a commodity to allow it to be sold to the highest bidder and those willing to trample on our laws to accomplish their goals,” Rabon said. “A coordinated statewide investigation is the only way to preserve this most basic right of a democratic society.”