Vote No on State Question 776!
Citizens across Oklahoma have launched a campaign to urge our fellow voters to vote NO on State Question 776. Visit okvotebymail.com to request an absentee ballot and vote by mail.
Why should Oklahomans vote NO on State Question 776?
- SQ 776 circumvents the traditional checks & balances of our 3-branch system of government by undermining the role of the courts to interpret Oklahoma law
- SQ 776 neither changes, protects, or places the death penalty at risk in Oklahoma
- SQ 776 dos not impact Oklahoma's ability to carry out executions, but it will open up the state to further costly legal challenges paid for by taxpayers
- The only valid purpose of SQ 776 has already been achieved via legislation
- SQ 776 will be voted on before the bipartisan Oklahoma Death Penalty Review Commission completes its work to examine the state's death penalty system from top to bottom
- SQ 776 may be voted on at a time when the recommendations of the Multi-County Grand Jury investigation, which revealed serious problems in the administration of Oklahoma’s death penalty, are still being considered by the Department of Corrections
Should we allow the Oklahoma Legislature to avoid the traditional checks and balances of our three-branch system of government? State Question 776 seeks to forbid Oklahoma courts from carrying out their constitutional role of interpreting the law regarding capital punishment in our state.
State Question 776 seeks to preserve existing death sentences in the event that a particular method of execution is invalidated by the courts. This has already been accomplished by HB 1879, which passed at about the same time SQ 776 was placed on the ballot by the legislature. SQ 776 is an unnecessary waste of legislative effort and tax payer resources.
It is too soon to ask Oklahoma voters to weigh in on the death penalty. The bipartisan Oklahoma Death Penalty Review Commission is examining the state's death penalty system from top to bottom. The commission, co-chaired by former Governor Brad Henry, former judge and prosecutor Reta Strubhar, and former judge Andy Lester, will complete its work in 2017.
There is widespread concern with the recent failures of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections to properly conduct executions. The Multi-County Grand Jury investigation revealed serious problems in the administration of Oklahoma’s death penalty, and its findings are still being considered by the Department of Corrections
It is wrong to add the death penalty into the Constitution and the state's Bill of Rights, especially at a time where the government has shown it can't handle the awesome responsibility of life and death.
Oklahomans of all political parties and faith groups, regardless of their opinion about the death penalty, are coming together to urge a NO vote on SQ 776.
The proposed ballot question is as follows:
“This measure adds a new section to the Oklahoma Constitution. It adds Section 9A of Article 2. It states that all death penalty statutes are in effect. It states that methods of execution can be changed. It states that the death penalty is not cruel and unusual punishment.
SHALL THE PROPOSAL BE APPROVED?”
See also: Article II, Oklahoma Constitution
"All statutes of this state requiring, authorizing, imposing or relating to the death penalty are in full force and effect, subject to legislative amendment or repeal by statute, initiative or referendum. Any method of execution shall be allowed, unless prohibited by the United States Constitution. Methods of execution may be designated by the Legislature. A sentence of death shall not be reduced on the basis that a method of execution is invalid. In any case in which an execution method is declared invalid, the death sentence shall remain in force until the sentence can be lawfully executed by any valid method. The death penalty provided for under such statutes shall not be deemed to be, or to constitute, the infliction of cruel or unusual punishments, nor shall such punishment be deemed to contravene any other provision of this Constitution."
The following reaction may be attributed to former Oklahoma Senator Connie Johnson, Chair of the Say No to SQ776 Committee
"Oklahoma tax payers are the biggest losers today. This referendum does nothing to remedy the deep and persistent problems with the death penalty in our state and may cause even more dysfunction. Now we all must foot the bill to defend SQ776 when it is challenged in court and then thrown out.
"SQ776 was expected to pass with at least 72% of the vote, so this result signals a significant shift in attitudes on the death penalty in our state, echoing a trend we are seeing across this country, and indicates just how out of touch the Oklahoma legislature is on this issue. The Sooner Poll found that more Oklahomans prefer the alternative of death by incarceration -- true life without the possibility of parole – over capital punishment when given that option.
"We look forward to the findings of the Henry Commission so that we can all have a discussion on the merits of the death penalty itself. Oklahoma should have that discussion, because we know that support for the death penalty drops when people understand the real facts about how the death penalty operates in practice."
SQ 776: Capital punishment foes were outspent in the effort to pass it, representative said By Tim Farley, Red Dirt Report, Nov. 8, 2016
State Question 776: Oklahoma voters reaffirmed their support of capital punishment Tulsa World, Nov. 8 2016
SQ 776 overwhelmingly supported by voters By Kyle Schwab, The Oklahoman, Nov. 8, 2016
State Question 776 passes KOCO (AP), Nov. 8, 2016
State Question 776 pre-empts death penalty commission's work, By The Rev. Dr. William Tabbernee, Tulsa World, November 2, 2016
Oklahoma voters should reject SQs 776 and 777, By The Oklahoman, November 1, 2016
State Chamber official provides overview of state questions by Eric Swanson, The Ada News, Oct. 29, 2016
The dangerous hidden agenda behind State Question 776, By Senator Connie Johnson, OK Policy Institute, Oct. 26, 2016
Oklahoma State Question 776 would protect death penalty in state constitution by Kyle Schwab, October 24, 2016
Concerns Raised About State Question 776 By NewsOn6.COM, October 22, 2016
Both supporters and opponents of Oklahoma's death penalty rally together against SQ776 By Lynn Casey, Fox 23 News, October 20, 2016
SQ 776 stirs controversy over death penalty By Burt Mummolo, KTUL, October 20, 2016
Tulsa World editorial: State Question 776 accomplishes little and should be rejected Tuesday, October 18, 2016
PRESS RELEASE from Think Twice Oklahoma: Former Executioner Says “NO to SQ 776” at “Think Twice Oklahoma”; Events in OKC, Langston, Tulsa & Lawton; Campaign Announces New “NO on SQ776” Recommendations from League of Women Voters of Oklahoma & CAIR By Abraham Bonowitz, October 19-21, 2016
EDITORIAL: SQs 776, 790 should be defeated Enid News & Eagle Oct 13, 2016
Repeal or reform? Death penalty voter decisions for 3 states By Associated Press, The Sacramento Observer, October 12, 2016
State Ballot Initiatives 2016: Death Penalty and Assisted Suicide Among Key Issues for Catholics By Brian Fraga, National Catholic Register, October 6, 2016
Oklahoma's Death Penalty State Question Draws Bipartisan Opposition By Kate Carleton Greer, KGOU, October 5, 2016
Use of death penalty re-examined in the states, at Supreme Court By Carol Zimmermann, Catholic News Service, October 3, 2016
Oklahoma conservative group examines death penalty By James Coburn, Edmond Sun, September 16, 2016
Conservatives, Progressives Should Unify To Defeat SQ 776 By Kurt Hochenauer, Okiefunk, September 16, 2016
Oklahoma News Report: State Questions 776 (Video), By OETA, August 26, 2016
'Think Twice' Group Opposes Codifying Death Penalty Into OK Constitution By Annie Chang, News on 6, September 14, 2016
Area leaders urge voters to oppose death penalty question on November ballot By Samantha Vicente, Tulsa World, September 14 2016
Campaign tackles death penalty question By Jenny Young, Lynn Casey Fox23 TV, September 14 2016
OUR VIEW: Thinking twice about SQ 776 Editorial, Stillwater News Press, September 14, 2016
Group asks voters to ‘Think Twice Oklahoma’ on death penalty state question By Heide Brandes, Red Dirt Report, September 13, 2016
SQ 776 would add execution language to state constitution By Sean Rowley By Sean Rowley, Tahlequah Daily Press, September 6, 2016
State Question 776 asks voters to protect the death penalty in Oklahoma By Laura Eastes, Oklahoma Gazette, August 31, 2016 Dead Man Sitting: The future of the death penalty in Oklahoma By Abby Broyles, KFOR, August 30, 2016
Execution state question waste of time, could lead to additional litigation, legal experts say By Barbara Hoberock, Tulsa World, August 22, 2016 Oklahoma swimming against death penalty tide The Oklahoman Editorial Board, August 7, 2016
Majority of Oklahomans support replacing death penalty with life sentences, poll shows By Silas Allen, August 6, 2016
Pledge to Vote NO to SQ 776 & Volunteer to Get Involved
Add your name to the petition that says "I oppose SQ776 and pledge to vote NO"
We also encourage you to get involved and volunteer!
Donate to the campaign today
Your investment today will help defeat SQ 776. Please click the Donate button now!
If you prefer to send money by US Mail, checks or money orders can be made out to "Say No To SQ 776 Committee" and mailed to:
Say No to SQ 776
P.O. Box 61241
Oklahoma City, OK 73146
To add your own name, or the name of your organization, please submit this form.
- ACLU of Oklahoma
- Amnesty International Oklahoma Groups & Members
- Catholic Charities/Archdiocese of Oklahoma City
- Center for Conscience in Action
- Democratic Socialists of America Oklahoma City Chapter
- League of Women Voters of Oklahoma
- Libertarian Party of Oklahoma
- Murder Victims Families for Reconciliation
- NAACP Oklahoma City Branch
- Robert Nigh, Chief Public Defender, Tulsa County Public Defender's Office
- Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty
- Oklahoma Conference of Churches
The following faith leaders have signed a letter under the banner of the Oklahoma Conference of Churches which calls for a NO vote on SQ 776 as part of general opposition to the death penalty.
- The Rev. Dale Assink
Regional Minister, Synod of the Heartland
Reformed Church in America
- The Rev. Dr. Bobby Best
Bishop, Ninth Episcopal District
Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
- The Most Rev. Paul S. Coakley
Archbishop, Roman Catholic
Archdiocese of Oklahoma City
- The Rev. Dr. Gregory J. Coulter
Presbyterian Church, USA
- The Rev. Dr. Gordon Edwards
- Rex Friend
Religious Society of Friends
- The Rev. Michael Girlinghouse
Bishop, Arkansas-Oklahoma Synod
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
- The Rev. Dr. Stephen D. Graham
Coordinator, Cooperating Baptist Fellowship
- Dr. Edith Guffey
United Church of Christ
- Bishop Mildred B. Hines
Bishop, Southwestern Delta Episcopal District, West Tennessee-Mississippi, South Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, and Oklahoma Conferences,
African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church
- The Rev. Pamela Holt
Regional Minister, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Oklahoma
- The Most Rev. David Konderla
Bishop, Roman Catholic Diocese of Tulsa
- The Rt. Rev. Dr. Edward J. Konieczny
Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma
- The Rev. Heidi Regier Kreider
Conference Minister, Western District Conference
Mennonite Church USA
- The Rev. Dr. Matt Meinke
Indian Nations Presbytery
Presbyterian Church, USA
- The Rev. Calvin Miller
Progressive Oklahoma Baptist State Convention
- The Rt. Rev. Michael L. Mitchell
Presiding Bishop, Twelfth Episcopal District
African Methodist Episcopal Church
- The Rev. James G. Nunn
Bishop, Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church and
the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference
- The Rev. Dr. William Tabbernee
Oklahoma Conference of Churches
- The Rev. Dale Assink
- Oklahoma Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
- Oklahoma Democratic Party
- Peace House Tulsa
- Republican Liberty Caucus of Oklahoma
- Witness to Innocence
To receive updates and additional information, please submit your e-mail address below:
Resources for download
(After loading the file in your browser, to download, right-click on PCs, Control+right-click on Mac)
- 100% Voting Strategies Document (PDF, 8.5 x 11, 2 pages)
- Say No To SQ 776 Investment Form (Word doc, 8.5 x 11, 1 page)
- Web Graphic
- Handout (8.5 x 11, 2 sided, red and black)
- Hidden Agenda flyer, full color (8.5 x 11, 2 sided)
- Hidden Agenda flyer, grayscale (8.5 x 11, 2 sided)
- Sign/Poster (PDF, 20 x 12, red)
- Visit okvotebymail.com to request an absentee ballot and vote by mail. Deadline: Nov. 2.
- Download and print brochure about Oklahoma voting rights and strategies.
- More voting info, sample ballot and more.