Tulsa County Election Board. DYLAN GOFORTH/The Frontier

Tulsa County Election Board. DYLAN GOFORTH/The Frontier

If Tulsa County’s successful Vision sales tax package passed in April is thrown out, voters probably won’t see it on a ballot again until November.

Officials discovered recently that not all four state-mandated legal notices were published in the Tulsa World, County Commissioner Ron Peters said. State law requires four legal notices to be published in a county newspaper before a special election.

Only one notice was published in the newspaper, Peters said. As a result, a sales tax extension voters overwhelmingly approved earmarked for County purposes is currently in limbo (the three City of Tulsa propositions are unaffected by the mistake).

In a Sunday Tulsa World article, the paper said its attorney, Schaad Titus, believed “substantial compliance has been ruled sufficient to uphold the validity of similar elections in the past.”

The article said the paper would be asking a judge to rule on if the published notice was sufficient.

Peters said he thought there was only a “very slight possibility” the vote is overturned by a judge.

“It’s a slight possibility, but it’s a possibility,” Peters said on Monday. “The intent of the law is to make sure that voters know there is a vote coming up and that they know what they’re voting on. I don’t think there’s any question we complied with that … if not the letter of the law, then the spirit.”

Peters said “more than $1 million” dollars were spent on advertising for the April 5 Vision Tulsa vote. The County’s 0.05 percent sales tax replaced an expiring tax, and is set to go into effect Jan. 1. It will mainly be used to fund infrastructure, park and street improvements.

“At the end of the day, nearly two-thirds of the voters voted for Tulsa County Vision, and we want to make sure their wishes are upheld,” Peters said.

Peters said he expects a judge to be assigned the case in the “next 7 to 10 days,” at which point a court date will be set.

“The judge will then say, basically, come show me why you think you complied (with the law,)” Peters said. “I’ve been told it will take 4 to 6 weeks for a resolution.”

Tulsa County Commissioner Ron Peters listens during a recent meeting of the Tulsa County Criminal Justice Authority. DYLAN GOFORT/The Frontier

County Commissioner Ron Peters. DYLAN GOFORTH/The Frontier

That means the earliest a re-vote could take place would likely be in November, according to a timeline presented by Tulsa County Election Board Secretary Patty Bryant. Bryant said that for the measure to make the next scheduled ballot (the Aug. 23 runoff election,) the resolution would need to be presented to the election board by June 8 (state law requires a 60-day window for resolutions to be presented before a scheduled election).

If it takes another week to assign a judge, the decision on the case wouldn’t be made until well after the June 8 deadline, according to the timeline Peters said he was presented. That means a possible re-vote would not be in front of voters until November, during the presidential election.

Bryant said typically the different involved entities split the cost of an election — for instance in August, the cost will be split between the state and Tulsa County. However, Bryant said she was informed Monday that the November ballot is so full that an entirely new ballot would be created should a Vision re-vote actually take place.

Tulsa County would bear the full cost of that ballot, she said.

The City of McAlester faced a similar issue last year. The McAlester News-Capital reported last year that when city officials learned of the error, they reached out to Gov. Mary Fallin’s office for a ruling — state law mandates the Governor sign off on city charter amendments.

Those six amendments passed by voters in 2014 had to be re-voted on the following year after Fallin’s office ruled that “legal notice requirements” for the charter amendments were not met.

A special election was held the following March, and voters again passed each of the previously invalidated amendments.