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Election official acknowledges hiccups, but says no widespread problems with SQ 788 ballots

Election official acknowledges hiccups, but says no widespread problems with SQ 788 ballots


State and local election officials spent much of their time Tuesday responding to reports that voters were not given ballots for State Question 788, the medical marijuana initiative.

The reports came from social media outlets, such as an Oklahomans for Cannabis Facebook post, from voters themselves, and from individuals who’d heard about the supposed problem on social media and called to find out what was going on.

State Election Board spokesman Bryan Dean said late Tuesday that there was no widespread problem with voters not receiving 788 ballots, but acknowledged the day did not begin well.

Some precinct workers, in some counties, were asking people if they wanted a State Question 788 ballot, rather than just giving voters the ballot, Dean said. He did not have specifics as to where, or how many times, this occurred.

“As the counties got a few of those (calls), they called the precincts where they had some issues, they dealt with that, they followed up and they got all the poll workers on the right page,” Dean said.

He added: “Poll workers get training on this, and they get refreshers before the election. They are people, and people will make a mistake here and there. We just want to get it fixed.”

Tulsa County Election Board Secretary Gwen Freeman said she began hearing reports Tuesday morning that precinct workers were not giving every voter a ballot for the medical marijuana initiative.

But that didn’t happen in Tulsa County, she insists

“All I can say is that every single complaint that we have received on that we have followed up on and thoroughly investigated it, and all four of the precinct officials that we have talked to assured us that everybody is getting the state ballot,” Freeman said.

Oklahomans for Cannabis posted an alert on its Facebook Page at about noon stating that there had been “Many reports of people not getting ballots!”

But Freeman noted that in Tulsa County, there is no separate ballot for State Question 788. The initiative is on the ballot with the Tulsa County judges races, which are also nonpartisan.

Gary Bruce told the Tulsa World that he did not receive a ballot for 788 when he went to vote at Woodland Christian Church, 7950 E 57 St. When asked whether he had received the nonpartisan ballot for judges, he said, “Yes, but I did not see State Question 788 on it.”

Dean said the most important thing he wants the public to understand is that election officials want to hear from voters if they believe something is not being done properly at the polls.

“If you see something wrong, that feels like it’s wrong at your polling station — you don’t feel like you’re getting the ballot you need — you need to contact your county election board as soon as you can so that they can get it rectified, because we need those issues dealt with as soon as we can,” Dean said.

Kevin Canfield


Twitter: @aWorldofKC

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