Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

October 16, 2012

Sample ballots offer vote preview


Pauls Valley Democrat

Garvin County — A limited supply of sample ballots are available at the Garvin County Election Board office for voters that want to get a preview of what will be at stake in the general election on Nov. 6.

All ballots in Garvin County will include the race for president of the United States and one U.S. House race and a long list of judges for the Oklahoma Supreme Court and the courts of criminal and civil appeals.

Featured in different parts of the county are two state Senate races and four state House races.

Oklahoma voters will also have six state questions to decide on during the election. Here is a summary of each:

1) State Question 758 is about an ad valorem tax limit on valuation increases.

The constitutional amendment would limit the increase in fair cash value of a homesteaded or agricultural property to three percent or the rate of inflation each year, whichever is less. Currently, the annual cap on ad valorem tax valuation increases is five percent.

2) State Question 759 would prohibit state and local government affirmative action programs in education, employment and contracting.

The constitutional amendment prohibits preferential treatment or discrimination based on race or gender in public education, employment or contracts.

The change to the state constitution would eliminate any state or local government affirmative action programs. Any programs that are necessary to receive federal funds would be preserved.

3) State Question 762 modifies the parole process for nonviolent convictions by removing the governor.

The constitutional amendment modifies the current parole process by authorizing the Pardon and Parole Board to grant parole for persons convicted of nonviolent crimes.

Now the board is only authorized to make recommendations to the governor regarding parole for violent convictions.

The composition of the Pardon and Parole Board will remain the same, with three members appointed by the governor, one member appointed by the Supreme Court chief justice and one member by the presiding judge of the Court of Criminal Appeals.

One 2007 audit found that the state could save over $40 million over 10 years or $4 million a year by removing the governor from the parole process for nonviolent offenders.

4) State Question 764 is about water infrastructure financing.

The constitutional amendment creates a funding mechanism to leverage available funding for water resource and sewage treatment financial assistance programs for municipalities, political subdivisions and other public entities in Oklahoma.

5) State Question 765 abolishes the Oklahoma Public Welfare Commission and authorizes the Legislature to create and direct administration of a department to provide for general welfare of Oklahomans.

The constitutional amendment abolishes the Department of Public Welfare, the Oklahoma Public Welfare Commission and the director of public welfare, currently known as the Department of Human Services, the Commission for Human Services and the director of Human Services, respectively.

The proposal authorizes the Legislature, and as allowed by law, the people via initiative petition, to enact legislation for the creation of a department(s) for the care and relief of the indigent, elderly, children, physical or otherwise disabled persons who are unable to provide or care for themselves.

6) State Question 766 exempts all intangible personal property from ad valorem taxation.

The constitutional amendment ensures that all intangible personal property shall not be subject to ad valorem taxation or any tax in lieu thereof.

The amendment is in response to a 2009 Oklahoma Supreme Court ruling that businesses should pay property taxes on intangible personal property, which includes customer lists, relationships, assembled work force, databases, goodwill, employment contracts, patented technology, lease agreements, trademarks, trade names, licensed software and more.