Sides in TABOR Protest Working to Expedite Hearings in Oklahoma

Article excerpt

Attorneys involved in a signature protest against the Taxpayer Bill of Rights ballot proposal have agreed to carve out areas of agreement, hoping to avoid a lengthy signature challenge as occurred with the cockfighting ban in 2000.

That line-by-line challenge took about a month of daily hearings before Oklahoma Supreme Court referee Greg Albert, who is also referee on the TABOR challenge.

Attorneys for the protestants and TABOR supporters met with Albert on Friday morning to line out a plan of action.

The start of scheduled signature hearings was postponed until June 15.

Attorney Kieran Maye Jr., representing TABOR supporters, estimated that the hearings would take about a dozen trial days spread over three weeks or so.

Maye said the ability to use electronic databases to make comparisons with voter registrations and related issues should help the two sides weed out signatures that are unquestionably valid.

Maye mapped out hearing dates to run from June 15-21, 27-30 and July 6, 7 and 10.

Under Oklahoma law, a proposed state question must be ready for the ballot at least 60 days before an election. This year's general election is Nov. 7.

Albert will report his findings to the Oklahoma Supreme Court, which will make a ruling on the challenge.

Albert said that if the hearings are wrapped up by mid-July, the justices theoretically could act on the proposed State Question 726 by September.

Mary Robertson, attorney for several civic and business leaders protesting the TABOR petition, discussed a motion to compel two notaries to produce journals relating to their notarization of some petitions. …

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