Voting Information For Judges and State Questions!

Every election season, people come to me and say, "What judges do I vote for?" I always have to laugh and tell them that I haven't a clue - I only seem to look at education policy. I never know how to vote in these elections myself! Granted, this blog post isn't about education, but it is about citizenship and being an informed voter and that's SO IMPORTANT!  

Recently, I received an email from Sharon Annesley of the Oklahoma Liberty Tea Party in Blanchard. This is HANDS DOWN the best information on judges I've EVER SEEN! This is awesome and I asked her permission to share it with you! The best part of the whole piece was that she has listed ALL the URL's she used for research, so if you want to go check them out yourself, you darn sure can! Thank you again so much for sharing Sharon! I hope this helps you as much as it helped me!  If anyone has any information they want to add to the post, please do! Discussion is great!

·         Important Dates…
·         Link to List of All Candidates…
·         Judicial Retention Elections…
·         State Questions on the Ballot….

The election will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 4th, 2014.  Absentee ballots are already being sent out. 

General Election:                               Tuesday, November 4

Last day to register to vote:                October 10

Deadline to request absentee ballot:   5 p.m. October 29

Early voting:                                       Thursday, October 30, 8 AM - 6 PM
                                                Friday, October 31, 8 AM - 6 PM
                                                Saturday, November 1, 9 AM - 2 PM

A list of all the Statewide Candidates on the Nov. 4th Ballot can be found at the following:


In the following Judicial Retention comments, I have completed a cursory review of these candidates and this is how I’ll probably vote. However, you can and should look into the judges as much as possible to make a valid decision based on your personal values….If I get further information related to these people, I will forward on to you to help you with your decision-making….

For information on the DA and District Judge Elections for District 21, see original information below this email.  For elections in other Judicial Districts, see link above to “All Statewide Candidates”….

A Summary of my Overall Preferences on the Judicial Retention Elections:


 ”YES” to GARY LUMPKIN – OK Criminal Appeals Court
 “YES” to BRIAN JACK GOREE – OK Civil Appeals Court


  “NO” to JOHN F. REIF – OK Supreme Court
  “NO” to TOM COLBERT – OK Supreme Court
             “NO” to JOSEPH M. WATT – OK Supreme Court
             “NO” to JERRY L. GOODMAN – OK Civil Appeals Court
             “NO” to JANE P. WISEMAN – OK Civil Appeals Court
             “NO” to DEBORAH BARNES – OK Civil Appeals Court
             “NO” to KEITH RAPP – OK Civil Appeals Court


Historically, no High Court Judge has ever been “voted out” in an Oklahoma Retention Election…however, as voters become more educated, this could change…”If in doubt, vote'em out”…..


DISTRICT NO. 1 – JOHN F. REIF – VOTE “NO”, not to keep
Reif was originally appointed by Governor Brad Henry (D) in 2007.

DISTRICT NO. 6 – TOM COLBERT – VOTE “NO”, not to keep
Colbert was originally appointed by Governor Brad Henry (D) in 2004.

DISTRICT NO. 9 – JOSEPH M. WATT – VOTE “NO”, not to keep
Watt was originally appointed by Governor David Walters (D) in 1994.

Probably one of the most publicized cases out of the OK Supreme Court this past year was when the OK Supreme Court took it upon themselves to "stay" the execution of two inmates despite the fact that this stay of execution was the responsibility of the OK Court of Criminal Appeals and not the OK Supreme Court.  By law, the OK Supreme Court handles no criminal cases.  The OK Court of Criminal Appeals voted NOT to stay the execution.

Colbert, C.J., Reif, V.C.J., Kauger, Watt and Combs, JJ., concurred with allowing for a Stay of Execution, even though it was fully outside of their jurisdiction per Oklahoma State Law (Constitution).

On the other hand Winchester, Edmondson, Taylor and Gurich, JJ., dissented with this Stay, claiming "The Appellants have maneuvered this Court right where they set out to put us and that is, for the first time in this Court's relevant history, in the middle of a death penalty appeal.  We have never been here before and we have no jurisdiction to be here now." (Justice Taylor)

No matter how the execution came out, the Justices who voted Yes were wrong in trying to “stay” the execution within the OK Supreme Court. We don’t need Supreme Court Justices who believe they can work outside the law and outside their jurisdiction.

In 2008, the OklahomaConstition.com commented on these same 3 Justices…indicating that people should Vote “NO” for all three….


Lumpkin was originally appointed by Gov. Henry Bellmon (R) in January 1989.

In October 2012, political science professors Adam Bonica and Michael Woodruff of Stanford University attempted to determine the partisan ideology of State Supreme Court Justices in their paper, State Supreme Court Ideology and 'New Style' Judicial Campaigns.  A score above 0 indicated a more conservative leaning ideology while scores below 0 are more liberal.  Lumpkin received a Campaign Finance score (CF score) of 0.88, indicating a conservative ideological leaning.  This is more conservative than the average CF score of 0.33 that justices received in Oklahoma.  The study is based on data from campaign contributions by judges themselves, the partisan leaning of contributors to the judges or, in the absence of elections, the ideology of the appointing body (governor or legislature).  This study is not a definitive label of a justice, but an academic gauge of various factors. 

In 2008, the OklahomaConstitution.com commented on this same Justice…recommending the people Vote “Yes” on Justice Gary Lumpkin.



OFFICE 1 – JERRY L. GOODMAN – VOTE “NO”, not to keep
Goodman was appointed by Governor Frank Keating (R) in 1994.

OFFICE 2 – JANE P. WISEMAN – VOTE “NO”, not to keep
Wiseman was appointed by Governor Brad Henry (D) in 2005.


OFFICE 1 – DEBORAH B. BARNES – VOTE “NO”, not to keep
Barnes was appointed by Governor Brad Henry (D) in 2008.

Steve Fair, Republican, of Duncan, OK recommended a Vote of “NO” for Barnes in the 2010 election.  Although, Steve mostly recommends a “No” vote based on whether they were appointed by a Democrat or Republican Governor.

OFFICE 2 – KEITH RAPP – VOTE “NO”, not to keep
Rapp was appointed by Governor George Nigh (D) in 1984.
RAPP (All but 2003, 2005)


Goree was appointed by Governor Mary Fallin (R) in 2012.

If you believe blogs, it appears that Justice Brian Goree is most likely a pro-gun and a pro-life person….

In 2008, the Oklahoma Constition.com commented and recommended the following vote….
It is recommended that all four of these judges up for retention, Jerry GoodmanJane WisemanKeith Rapp, and John Fischer, should be replaced.  VOTE NO on all four (Note:  3 of which are included in the 2014 election).   http://oklahomaconstitution.com/ns.php?nid=132&pastissue=1


There are 3 State Questions on the ballot.  I will probably vote YES (to pass) on all 3, unless I hear something about them that is not so obvious....NOTE:  Always be careful how you vote on State Questions.  I don't have the actual wording on these and sometimes a "NO" vote is a pass-vote and sometimes a "YES" vote is a pass-vote...read them carefully.....

SQ 769  (Summary:  Modifying the current law in order to allow some of those who hold office to simultaneously be in a Reserve or Guard Unit, even if they are called to active service while holding office)


This measure amends Section 12 of Article 2 of the Oklahoma Constitution.  That Section currently imposes limits on an individual simultaneously holding certain government offices.  The amendment would permit those serving in state offices of trust or profit to also hold certain military positions.  Holders of an Oklahoma office of trust or profit who currently cannot simultaneously hold certain military positions, include:
    State Judges;
    District Attorneys;
    Statewide elected officials, such as the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, and Treasurer;
    Members of State Boards, Agencies and Commissions, and Many County Officers.

The measure creates a state constitutional right permitting holders of Oklahoma offices of trust or profit to also serve and be called to active duty or active service in the following military positions:
    An Officer or Enlisted Member of
    The National Guard,
    The National Guard Reserve,
    The Oklahoma State Guard, or
    Any other active militia or military force organized under State law;
    An Officer of the Officers Reserve Corps of the United States or
    An Enlisted Member of the Organized Reserves of the United States.

The Measure empowers the Legislature to enact laws to implement the amended Section.

SQ 770  (Summary:  A Special Homestead Exemption for disabled veterans and spouses of disabled veterans)

This measure amends the Oklahoma Constitution.  It amends Section 8E of Article 10.  This section provides a homestead exemption to certain qualifying disabled veterans.   It also provides a homestead exemption to the surviving spouse of qualifying disabled veterans.  This measure would allow either the veteran or his or her surviving spouse to sell the homestead but acquire another homestead property in the same calendar year.  The exemption would apply to the newly acquired homestead property to the same extent as the original exemption for the homestead property that was sold.

SQ 771  (Summary:  A Special Homestead Exemption for spouses of military personnel who have died in the line of duty)

This measure amends the Oklahoma Constitution.  It would add a new Section 8F to Article 10.  It would create a homestead exemption for the surviving spouse of military personnel who die in the line of duty.  The United States Department of Defense or the applicable branch of the United States military would make the determination regarding whether the person engaged in military service died while in the line of duty.  It would provide the surviving spouse of such person with a one hundred percent (100%) exemption for the fair cash value of the homestead until the surviving spouse remarried.  This measure would allow the surviving spouse to sell the homestead, but acquire another homestead property in the same calendar year.  The exemption would apply to the newly acquired homestead property to the same extent as the original exemption for the homestead property that was sold.  The exemption would apply beginning in calendar year 2015.  The exemption would also apply for the 2014 calendar year if the surviving spouse meets applicable requirements.


Overall, my opinion on the Judicial Retention Elections (not those candidates below) are "If in doubt, vote them out"....

Generally, I vote NO to all judges that are on the "retention" list ballot unless I know them to be truly good and fair judges who do not want to legislate from the bench...

The two candidates for DISTRICT JUDGE are:  

This new District Judge position will be principally located in Cleveland County.  Both of these men are currently working as Special Districat Judges in Cleveland County (Stice) and McClain County (Virgin).  

Steven Stice previously owned a small business and worked with others regarding business law for several years.; he worked in private practice for quite a few years; and, he has been a Special Judge for a few years.  His experience is broad-ranged.  He believes that it is important that both parties who come to court, be it criminal or civil cases, should be treated equally under the laws of the State and as applicable to law.  He did not believe that it was good to have "political" endorsements as he believes they should remain apolitical as the job calls for.  He has several judges within the state who endorse him.  He believes it is not his position to "legislate" from the bench.

Jeff Virgin is younger than Stice and essentially has less experience.  He has worked with the DA's office and he has worked as a Special Judge for a short time.  He has been endorsed by the Sheriffs' offices in all 3 counties and the DA's office.  He also has been endorsed by US Rep. Tom Cole and several of the State Legislators.  He is proud of these endorsements and he indicated that his experience as a Special Judge in McClain County has given him much broader experience than would be normally anticipated due to their heavy workload.

The meeting in Norman gave me a lot of insight into these two candidates and really helped me to make up my mind which one I believe to be the better candidate.  I think both candidates are worthy of the position; however, due to life and legal experience, I believe Steve Stice to be the better of the two candidates at this time.  I have no real problems with Jeff Virgin.  I agree with Steve Stice that judges should remove themselves from the political arena as much as they can.  I would also like for Jeff Virgin to obtain a little more experience.


The two candidates for DISTRICT ATTORNEY are:

GREG MASHBURN (incumbent)

The District Attorney (along with the Assistant DA's appointed by him) work in all 3 counties (Cleveland, McClain, and Garvin Counties).

Greg Mashburn is the incumbent DA for District 21.  He has been our DA for 8 years.  Overall, Mashburn did not impress me too greatly.  His prosecution of many different crimes seemed to be somewhat "mechanical" in his viewpoint.  In example:  He commented that he gives drug offenders 5 chances (with various stepwise increasing punishments) and then sends them to prison.  His attitude didn't seem to take into account various types of scenarios that could occur with these people.  

Mike Milstead openly admitted that he has an "ax to grind" against Mashburn.  This appears to be his greatest reason for running for Dist. Attorney.  This "ax" appears to be marijuana (probably the legalization of it).  He believes that the possession and use of marijuana should not be a prison offense.  When asked questions about various issues, he seldom gave any answer unless the question related to marijuana.  I believe that he would "enact" marijuana legalization by poor or no prosecution of most offenders.  I don't know if he would do too well at anything else either.  His views and his overall presence pushed me to only consider Mashburn as a viable candidate.



  1. Anonymous11:49 AM

    Thank you for posting!

    1. Anonymous6:00 PM

      I also, want to thank you for posting!

  2. Anonymous3:57 AM

    A lot of work has gone into this. Thanks

  3. Anonymous9:07 AM

    Great scholarship in your research! Thank you so much.

  4. Anonymous6:28 PM

    Thanks for the info!

  5. Anonymous12:57 PM

    Thanks so much!!

  6. Thank you for all your time and effort! I wish you lived in Lincoln County. I also wish you had added something about the candidates for Superintendent of Public Education... We need to make sure we don't get another Sandy Garrett... (My opinion!)

    1. Anonymous5:46 PM

      I think John Cox would be the best to vote for he is and has been in the school systems for years and know what is going on and what issues need to be addressed.

  7. Anonymous3:50 PM

    This may seem non relevant, but in considering judges, who are the ones, liberal I assume, who lets lawyers from 'up north' come here and ban the votes of the people? Which judges? Important I think. Thanks also, for posting your views.

  8. Anonymous8:59 PM

    i looked up a sample ballot and made sure to go research all the choices I would consider and see 'where they stood' if I was not already familiar with them.. some of the independents were better than I expected and some were not at all up to the position they were trying to get I thought after listening to interviews of them on specific topics and their views in general. I thought it would be interesting to go look into the different judges and see which ones made decisions like i thought were fair.. who appointed them and such.. and after hours litterally of really deep study.. I surfed to see what voting information for judges I could find in general to see what others thought. Your choices were almost exactly same as mine.. similar reasons for some.. but it made me feel like I was not the only one to pick up on some of their bad reasoning/choices and I am wanting a gov and judge structure that will quit going around or outside of our consitution when making decisions, and quit REinterpreting what it 'really means' .. instead of interpreting it the way it is written.. we do not need it ignored either. I appreciate your work and willingness to share your decisions and reasons why you came up with them. I just wish everyone would attempt to educate themselves.. rather than playing eeeenie meeenie miiiiineee mo.. and randomly marking whatever.. not knowing how it will affect all of us. thanks again!

  9. Anonymous8:14 AM

    Thanks very much for your scholarly input. Very helpful. Normally, judges' thought tracking and deliberation considerations are difficult to
    review. Too many times we rubber-stamp the selection of judges and pay the price of their senseless decisions later. We should also put the pressure on the U.S. Congress for better vetting of judges that will come before them for selection.....especially, just after this coming national selection for members of Congress when they will be faced with an onslaught of recommendations from the president.

  10. Russell Sletmoen10:26 AM

    Thank you for your efforts in bringing some light to the process of selecting those candidates that are not that well exposed. It is criminal to vote blindfolded and cancel out someone else's vote who know what they are doing. Your information helps. Russ

  11. Anonymous1:22 PM

    Thank you for the information and posting. That was very helpful.

  12. Anonymous3:33 PM

    I am wondering about the state question involving elected officials & military service. Would this mean that we could have a governor, lt governor, etc that would be called to active duty and possibly be away for an extended amount of time during their term?

    1. Anonymous9:11 PM

      My husband and I believe it would be a conflict of interest for these elected positions. I wouldn't want to see too many empty seats when decisions need to be made, do you? We are voting "NO" on this one. And Thanks for all the info... very helpful.

    2. Anonymous9:58 AM

      Our elected officials would be the last called for duty should a draft occur. Factor in the age of the officials in question. Does the risk outweigh the reward so to speak? First line of defense is to keep infrastructure in place.

  13. Finally! I found somewhere to begin my decision making process for tomorrows elections! Thank you so much for all of your hard work!!

  14. Anonymous7:08 AM

    I found this information very helpful. Thank you for posting.

  15. Thanks so much for bringing this information to Oklahomans!

  16. Anonymous9:16 AM

    wish i could find a way to share this on my fb

  17. Anonymous10:00 AM

    Finally, I can go vote now!!! I've been looking up info on all these judges and even call a rep to see where I can get any info (fail) and you have just answered it all :) God bless u and please keep it up!

  18. Anonymous12:03 PM

    The fact that you include a note saying that a person from the Oklahoma Liberty Tea Party thinks this is best information on judges when there really isn't any information other than your opinion makes it questionable.