KGOU

Oklahoma Engaged

Oklahoma Engaged: A Preview Of Capitol Hill

Oct 12, 2016
Josh Robinson / Oklahoma Engaged

For weeks now, KGOU and KOSU have been unveiling stories on voter participation and the Oklahoma ballot in advance of the November 8 election.

The collaborative project, Oklahoma Engaged, examines and explains ballot measures and key political races with an emphasis on voter apathy, changing demographics and other factors impacting voter turnout.

empty classroom
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Oklahoma teachers haven’t received a statewide pay raise in eight years. But this November, voters will have a chance to boost teacher pay if they approve State Question 779.

It would fund the raises through a one percent sales tax. Education advocates say this could prevent teachers from fleeing the state, or the profession for better paying jobs. But opponents argue the proposal would create an entirely different set of problems.

Sue Ogrocki / AP

Oklahoma's execution practices were under the national spotlight when the 2015 legislative session began. A few weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case challenging the state’s three-drug lethal injection cocktail, Oklahoma state Sen. Anthony Sykes, R-Moore, introduced Senate Joint Resolution 31.  

Dep. Sheriff Red Edgman, Dep. Sheriff Dave Harlan, Sheriff Orin Johnston and Henry Troup break up a still near Purcell, Oklahoma in 1933.
Purman Wilson Collection / Oklahoma Historical Society

 

Oklahomans are considering some of the biggest changes to the state’s liquor laws since the end of prohibition. If approved, State Question 792 would amend the state constitution and alter a system with roots planted during the days of Indian Territory.

Wine bottles in The Spirit Shop in Norman.
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

“There he is!” Bryan Kerr said with a laugh, as he greeted a customer at his liquor store in Moore. ”You’re always showing up at exactly the right time.”

The customer navigated through rows of bottles at Moore Liquor, while Kerr slipped outside. He took a few steps to an adjoining storefront to another business he owns: Party Moore.

“A lot of people mistake it for like a Party Galaxy or Party City. It is not that,” Kerr said as he cracked open the store’s door. “It is a party store that is exclusively built for parties that have alcohol in them.”

Two dancers practice in an empty lot next to their International Dance Studio (IDance) in Capitol Hill.
Josh Robinson / Oklahoma Engaged

43 states had a higher voter turnout than Oklahoma in the last presidential election in 2012. We wanted to know more about why the state’s voter turnout is so low.

With support from the Kirkpatrick Foundation, KGOU and KOSU are collaborating on a series called Oklahoma Engaged. In the first of several stories, we focus on the state’s changing electorate.

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