Supporters of Medicaid expansion say they have collected the required number of signatures to put a state question on the ballot next year.

Nearly two weeks shy of the Oct. 28 deadline, the Yes on 802 campaign has collected the 178,000 signatures required by state law, campaign manager Amber England announced Thursday evening on a conference call for the campaign’s volunteers.

But signature-gatherers will continue collecting circulating petitions until closer to the deadline, she said.

“We can’t afford to just squeak by,” she said. “We need to deliver a message that will resonate across the state later this month when we turn in these signatures.”

England hinted the additional signatures will help serve as a buffer should someone challenge the petitions after they are turned into the Secretary of State’s office.

After the secretary of state’s office counts and verifies the signatures, there is a 10-day challenge period during which someone can object to the petitions.

“Our goal has never been to turn in the bare number of signatures needed to make the ballot,” England told supporters “We know that opponents are going to do everything in their power to prevent Oklahomans from getting the chance to vote on this. We’re just not going to let that happen.”

The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs challenged the initiative petition in May after it was filed.

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Medicaid petition meets goal of 178,000 signatures, campaign says –