OKLAHOMANS for BALLOT ACCESS REFORM (OBAR)

 

 

For Immediate Release              March 13, 2009

  Contact: Angelia O’Dell  918-510-8315                  Angelia@OkVoterChoice.org

 

Ballot Access Reform Bill Passes House

 

House Bill 1072 passed the Oklahoma House around midnight on Wednesday in an 86-5 vote and will next receive a vote in the Senate.  This bill takes a small step toward easing Oklahoma ballot access laws, considered the most restrictive in the country. 

 

“Oklahoma was the only state where voters were limited to just two choices for president in 2004.  This then happened again in 2008.  Oklahoma sticks out like a sore thumb when it comes to our state’s ballot access laws. This bill would take a small step in the right direction,” said Angelia O’Dell, Chair of the Libertarian Party of Oklahoma.

 

To form a new political party, Oklahoma law currently requires signatures equal to 5% of the last presidential or gubernatorial vote, which means over 73,000 signatures in 2010.  This number was over TEN TIMES the per capita requirement of many neighboring states, including Texas, Missouri, and New Mexico. 

 

HB 1072, introduced by Representative Charles Key (R-OKC), would make the signature requirement to form a new political party always be based on the gubernatorial turnout, often less than turnout for presidential elections.  With this change the requirement in 2010 would be 46,323 signatures, based on the 2006 gubernatorial turnout, instead of the 73,134 shown in the chart below, which is based on the 2008 presidential election turnout.  This means Oklahoma would still require more signatures than any of our surrounding states. 

 

            Current Signature Requirements for 2010 Election Cycle

 

Ranking

 

State

Petitioning requirement for full party ballot access

Petitioning Requirement per million residents

1

Oklahoma

73,134

20,079

2

Texas

43,991

1,808

3

Kansas

16,944

6,065

4-tie

Missouri

10,000

1,692

4-tie

Arkansas

10,000

3,502

6

New Mexico

2,794

1,408

7-tie

Colorado

1,000*

202*

7-tie

Louisiana

1,000*

227*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

* Colorado and Louisiana require 1,000 to register under the new party’s affiliation for ballot access.

** Requirements from Ballot Access News, www.ballot-access.org

 

With its current language, HB 1072 would not address Oklahoma’s 5% requirement.  Richard Winger, editor of Ballot Access News, recently wrote, “Oklahoma is the only state in the nation in which a party can't place its nominees for all statewide office on the general election ballot with the party label, unless it does a 5% petition.  All the other states have procedures at or below 2%, except that Alabama is 3% of the last gubernatorial vote.  Oklahoma is all alone in being above 3%.”

 

In 2007, OBAR collected over 14,000 signatures for an initiative would return the number of signatures for recognition of political party back to 5,000, the number required in Oklahoma from 1924 until 1974. 

 

OBAR is a coalition of the Libertarian, Green, and Constitution Parties and the Oklahoma Coalition of Independents, unified with the simple goal of making laws fair for new political parties.  

                                                                  

www.OkVoterChoice.org