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Latest Oklahoma Survey Finds 83 Percent Support for Official English Law

Sooner State could be 31st to make English the official language

January 26, 2010
A new Sooner survey found that 83 percent of Oklahomans support the November ballot question to make English the official language of the state. A year after the measure passed through the legislature with broad, bi-partisan support, the survey found that more than four-in-five Oklahomans want to see the government operate overwhelmingly in English, while fewer than one-in-seven residents oppose the effort. The poll of 621 likely voters, sponsored by the Tulsa World, was conducted Jan. 2-5, 2010 and has a margin of error of +/- 3.93 percentage points.

“This latest survey in Oklahoma provides additional proof of the strong support for official English laws,” said Mauro E. Mujica, Chairman of the Board of U.S. English, Inc. “Oklahomans understand that while our diverse backgrounds can make us stronger, that strength is only realized when we can share information through our common language of English. Government policies should be designed to promote English acquisition and limit translations, and I look forward to seeing this measure pass on November 2.”

A “yes” vote on the ballot initiative will make English the official language of the state, requiring that official actions be conducted in English, and declaring that the state cannot be forced to provide multilingual services, except where mandated by federal law. The proposed law will not affect emergency services in languages other than English, nor will it diminish the use, study or development of Native American languages.

The measure was passed as H.J.R. 1042 through the Oklahoma legislature last spring. Taken up by the Senate in April, it was approved 44-2 in that chamber and sailed through the House of Representatives by an 89-8 vote in May.

Voter referendums to make English the official language of the state have appeared on nine statewide ballots since 1986. All of these initiatives have passed, beginning with California (1986), Colorado (1988), Alabama (1988), Arizona (1988) and Florida (1988). In 1998 Alaskans passed an official English measure with 69 percent of the vote, followed two years later by a successful measure in Utah with 67 percent of the voters in support. Arizona voters placed a new official English measure on the books by nearly a 3-to-1 margin in 2006, while Missourians voted to strengthen the state’s official English law with 86 percent of the vote in 2008. In all, 30 states have made English the official language of the state.

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