Oklahomans Vote Against State Question 805 In General Election


Tuesday, November 3rd 2020, 9:22 pm
By: LeighAnne Manwarren


Oklahoma voters said no to State Question 805, according to state voting projections.

State Question 805 was a ballot measure to initiate a constitutional amendment to the state Constitution in the name of criminal justice reform.

The measure would have prohibited using a person’s past non-violent felony convictions to impose an enhanced sentence when sentencing a person convicted of a non-violent felony, and to provide sentence modifications for eligible individuals serving or set to serve sentences that were enhanced based on past felony convictions.

Supporters said the measure would have helped reduce prison population in Oklahoma.

Opponents of the measure included Gov. Kevin Stitt, Attorney General Mike Hunter, district attorneys, law enforcement officers, former Gov. Frank Keating and advocates against domestic violence.

“Now the responsible work resumes. Most every Oklahoman agrees more can be done to break the cycle of crime that is spurred by incarceration.  It is time to bring all stakeholders to the table and really do the hard work of making our state safer in a sustainable and cost-efficient manner," said Tricia Everest, attorney and chair of Oklahomans United Against 805.

They said it is a misguided effort that would undo years of reforms.

“District attorneys are obviously pleased with these results but the reality is that this is a victory for crime victims and survivors. While these results speak to Oklahomans' support for victims of crime as well as the concept of increased accountability for repeat offenders, your district attorneys will continue to protect public safety while working for greater access to mental health and addiction treatment services for offenders who need help. We stand ready to address these important issues which are vital to making our state a safer place for our families,” said Angela Marsee of the Oklahoma District Attorneys Association.

Opponents said the problem with SQ 805 was it would have changed the state Constitution, so modifying it would be very difficult. It also considered crimes like domestic abuse by strangulation a non-violent offense. 

Backers of SQ 805 said they’re proud of the awareness they brought to the issue.  

“We’re going to continue to advocate for better policies and we’ve had a great conversation. We’ve engaged a lot of people and I hope that we’ve raised awareness around why we need to reform our criminal justice system,” said Kris Steele of Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform.

News 9's Aaron Brilbeck contributed to this story.