Rumored lawsuit becomes reality for Oklahoma’s SQ 746

Nov 17 2010

By Al Ortiz

OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma: A lawsuit was filed on November 16, 2010 in Tulsa County District Court challenging the passage of Oklahoma’s State Question 746, stating that statewide question interferes with the “right of suffrage by those entitled to such right.” The measure was filed by James C. Thomas, who also filed a similar lawsuit challenging State Question 751 the previous week. SQ 746 requires voters to produce photo identification in order to vote. According to the bill, “proof of identity” is a document that includes: voter’s name, a picture of the voter, and is issued by the United States, the State of Oklahoma, or a federally recognized Indian Tribe or Nation.

According to Thomas, a Tulsa attorney and a University of Tulsa professor, the measure implements limits on the right to vote, and is unconstitutional. Thomas also stated that the proposal violated the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution. The lawsuit, according to reports, was filed on behalf of Delilah Christine Gentges, a Tulsa County resident. Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry is listed as the sole defendant. [1]

On November 9, 2010, Thomas filed a lawsuit in Tulsa County District Court against State Question 751. That measure would make English the official language of the state of Oklahoma. According to Thomas, the measure violates free speech, which is held in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the free speech clause of the Oklahoma Constitution. Thomas stated, “This English only takes away the right to speak of all public officials of Oklahoma. They cannot render service … in any language other than English.” [2]

Representative Randy Terrill stated that the amendment passed with the largest margin of the 11 state questions that were on the ballot. He pointed this out as proof that the measure is the will of the voters. According to Terrill, “This is just another frivolous lawsuit filed by a liberal law professor trying to forum shop for a judge willing to thwart the will of the people.” [3]