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State's Ballot Access is Arduous
April 30, 2003
by Clarke Duffe
ON THURSDAY, the Oklahoma Libertarian Party will begin the arduous task of getting itself placed on the 2004 election ballot. To do this, it must gather the signatures of 51,781 registered Oklahoma voters by April 30, 2004. To ensure enough valid names, the party will actually need to collect nearly 75,000 signatures. That's just over 200 per day, every day, for the next year.
It is more difficult for a so-called "third party" to get on the ballot in Oklahoma than almost anywhere else in America. Ralph Nader picked up nearly 2.7 million votes for president nationwide in 2000, but not a single one in Oklahoma; his Green Party couldn't get on the ballot here.
Harsh ballot access laws not only mean that Oklahomans are restricted in our choice of candidates; we are restricted in the ideas we get to hear. Without ballot status, third parties can be totally shut out of the process. Even if a third party does get on the ballot, most of its candidates are still excluded from League of Women Voters debates and other political events on the presumption that they "don't have a real chance to win."
What is missed when these smaller parties are excluded? Ideas. Ideas from the left, the right and libertarian. Ideas you haven't heard before because the only thing the giant, interchangeable Republicrat parties care about is which one will control the status quo. "Bipartisanship" merely means they've joined to crush any new ideas which might threaten their monopoly on government. It is now, and always has been, the third parties which have developed the fresh, new ideas that actually improve people's lives. To exclude these parties from the ballot is to condemn the citizenry to an unending future of "more of the same."
So if you see us at a festival, a rally or in front of the post office, please stop and let us have your signature. It costs you nothing and offers you so much.
Duffe, of Edmond, is chairman of the Central Oklahoma Libertarian Party.
Click here to find out how you can join the campaign for FAIR and DEMOCRATIC ballot acccess laws.