Recently on social media, someone questioned why the Oklahoma governor has the power to appoint any vacant congressional offices?
I responded that this is not the case. But after an election is certified, our governor notifies the federal govt. In Kevin Hern's case, the seat was his just as soon as the election was certified.
Here's how I explained it, and why I think our state constitution is flawed (it has numerous flaws).
The governor certified to the Clerk of the US House of Representatives, that Hern was elected. In most states, the Secretary of State is the elected official who certifies the elections. But in most states, the people actually vote for the Secretary of State.
In Oklahoma's constitution, the SOS office is a duty directed by the governor & is sometimes similar to a glorified butler who is appointed by the Governor, and serves at the governor's pleasure.
Oklahoma's constitution grants to the State Senate, to allow their appointed Senate Clerk to serve as our election board secretary.
That is also a bad design, because the senate then gets to dictate who oversees their reelections to the senate.
Our Commissioners of Labor & Insurance should not be independently elected, but our Secretary of State should be elected directly and have the oversight of elections. The governors can hire their own butlers.
Our current Secretary of state is a fine man and I'm confident in his integrity. His predecessor is also an old friend and a man of impeccable integrity. I certainly don't mean to disparage their service. To the contrary, I believe they both are men who should have been handling all the operations of the Election Board (as most SOS offices do, in the rest of the states).
I'm not holding my breath for any hope of reform. The legislature could file a resolution to put this reform to a vote of the people. But the Senators don't want to give up their control of the election board. And the governors don't want to give up their control over the Secretary of State's office. I certainly don't expect the grassroots activists for govt. reform to seek in excess of 170,000 petition signatures for this reform. But I still believe we have a system which allows too much corruption in some areas, and yet strains to earnestly over matters that have no practical impact in our society.
Now, I know it's an over-simplification to say that the SOS is 'just a butler'. But the fact remains that Governors maintain a protocol for official state business. And introductions to the governor of official visitors & dignitaries are typically a duty of the SOS office.
We have to acknowledge that this is one area where Oklahoma is an oddity, in the structures of state governments. This matter underscores why Oklahoma needs to present to the voters, an option to convene an Oklahoma Constitutional Convention. Every year, several legislators file such a resolution; and every hear those resolutions die in committee without ever getting called up by the chairman for a committee vote. This year we will name those committee chairs who violate their oath of office by failing to put forth this matter, which our current state constitution mandates to be presented to the people at least every 20th year. It's been over 40 years since the people been presented a vote on this.
I've posted an excellent example of a legislative resolution to bring a ballot question to the voters about a state constitutional convention.
This one was written by former State Senator, Kyle Loveless. This resolution allows for more representation by the public who are not currently serving in state elective office. It would be preferable that these representatives all be elected as delegates and that all former lawmakers & elected officials be eligible to serve. It's my assertion that a retired lawmaker who served at least a decade in office might be far more knowledgeable than a freshman in office.
Most of the other proposals made the convention delegates little more than our current legislature.
This resolution by Sen. Kyle Loveless was killed in committee by the chair (Sen. Eddie Fields).
In 2011, Rep. Gary Banz wrote HJR1020. It passed the House with 77 supporters, but the Chair (Sen. AJ Griffin) killed it in the Senate, by refusing to call it up for a committee vote.