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Group seeks ballot access shakeup

Sat., Sept. 22, 2007
The Oklahoman Editorial
http://newsok.com/article/3131368/1190423904

A coalition seeking to ease ballot access in Oklahoma has a rough road ahead in gaining enough signatures to call an election on the issue. Oklahomans for Ballot Access Reform (OBAR) has the noble goal of making it easier for candidates to win a place on the ballot when they don't have "Republican” or "Democrat” beside their name.

Oklahoma has one of the most restrictive ballot access laws in the nation. Since 1974, a new political party seeking access must obtain signatures equal to 5 percent of the most recent presidential or gubernatorial vote. That threshold is more than 43,000 based on the 2006 election.

Proposed is a reduction to a flat number: 5,000 signatures. Changing the law would acquire approval by the people of a referendum that OBAR hopes to get on the 2008 ballot. Of course, the Legislature — consisting of only Republicans and Democrats — could call an election and spare OBAR the expense of circulating an initiative petition.

The irony of this effort is that in order to reduce the number of signatures needed for ballot access, OBAR will have to gather even more signatures — 90,000 is the goal — to call the election. And it has only 90 days in which to gather those signatures.

We urge Oklahomans interested in freeing up state election restrictions to consider supporting OBAR. The people deserve a chance to vote on this issue and perhaps give politics as usual a run for its money.






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