A legislative referendum is the mechanism by which the Oklahoma Legislature can submit a constitutional amendment or statutory change to a vote of the people. A legislative referendum is one of two ways to place a State Question on the ballot in Oklahoma, the other being an initiative petition. A legislatively-initiated ballot measure must take the form of a Joint Resolution and be approved by a simple majority vote in both chambers. It does not require the Governor’s approval.
Once received by the Secretary of State, each legislative referendum is designated a State Question number and a Legislative Referendum number. Copies are delivered to the Governor and State Election Board to issue the Election Proclamation and place the measure on the ballot for a vote of the people at the time of the next general election. The Attorney General has the responsibility to review the measure’s ballot title and may rewrite the ballot title if s/he determines that the title proposed in the legislation does not meet requirements.
Since 1989, there have been 78 legislative referendums of which all but seven have been constitutional amendments. There were two legislative referendums on the ballot in 2020 but none in 2022 – the first time that voters have not been called on to decide a legislative referendum on a general election ballot since 1970.