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Will State Questions Drive Voter Turnout In November?

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Efforts are underway to place initiatives involving storm shelters and marijuana sales on this November's ballot.

Whether this year's measures would help one candidate or party is unclear. A cockfighting initiative on the 2002 ballot drew large numbers of rural Democrats to the polls, and that was the year an underdog Democratic state senator from Shawnee named Brad Henry won the governor's race.

Henry won with 43.3% of the vote, compared to Republican Steve Largent with 41.6% and conservative independent Gary Richardson with 14.1%. 

Ballot initiatives must be submitted 60 days for inclusion on the ballot, so both petitions must be submitted by September 5th. Oklahoma ballot initiatives have 90 days to gather all signatures, and at the latest must be submitted 60 days before an election -- in this case, September 5th. The medical marijuana initiative began June 3rd. The recreational marijuana initiative began June 16th. The storm shelter initiative began July 2nd.

The Democratic nominee for governor, state Rep. Joe Dorman, has long been a champion of a $500 million bond issue to put more shelters in schools, but he's not embracing the pro-marijuana efforts.

Republican Mary Fallin, running for re-election, has not supported either initiative.

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