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10 REASONS why Oklahoma's ballot access laws are broken, an initiative petition is the way to fix them, and Oklahomans are ready for more voter choice.
1.) Oklahoma was the ONLY state limited to just two choices for president in 2004.
2.) HALF of Oklahoma's state legislative races were unopposed in the 2006 general election.
3.) Oklahoma's ballot access law for third parties is the MOST RESTRICTIVE in the nation: requiring over 73,000 signatures to form a party in 2006 and nearly 50,000 signatures for 2008. This was TEN TIMES the recent per capita requirement in Texas, Missouri, and New Mexico.
4.) Oklahoma is one of only FIVE states that do NOT allow write-ins.
5.) According to a recent Ballot Access News article, Oklahoma is also the most restrictive for Independent presidential candidates.
6.) The Oklahoma legislature has demonstrated it will ignore reforming our restrictive ballot access laws, with four reform bills introduced since 1999 and all denied even a committee hearing.
7.) The Oklahoma Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal this year on a ballot access case, even though Oklahoma's Constitution says, "All elections shall be free and equal." Section III-5
8.) The Ballot Access Reform initiative petition would return the number of signatures to 5,000 to form a new political party, the requirement from 1924 to 1974. This would make us the 30th state requiring 5,000 signatures or less this year for new parties or independent presidential candidates (see below). It would also make it easier for a new political party to demonstrate support and stay on the ballot.
9.) During the fifty years the 5,000 signature requirement was in place, only four parties, including the Republican and Democratic Parties, were on the ballot at any point in time.
10.) Oklahoman's are ready for increased voter choice. Oklahoma Democrats chose from nine presidential candidates in 2004 and both parties will have near that many choices next year.
Print the OBAR 10 Reasons pdf sheet!
Ballot access reform already has significant support from many sources:
-The state's largest newspaper, The Daily Oklahoman, said in an editorial, “We agree that it’s too tough for an independent party to get a presidential aspirant on the ballot and reform is needed.”
-Recognizing the need for more competition at the ballot, the 2007 Oklahoma Republican Party Platform states: “We support less restrictive ballot access for all political parties and candidates.” (III.G.6.)
-An Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs article says "It is surprising that a state with Oklahoma's populist tradition...is the nation's most restrictive state in terms of ballot access."
Richard Winger, editor of Ballot Access News, wrote about Oklahoma’s problem: “This is about VOTER rights…People have a right to vote for the candidate of their choice. It's isn't a free election otherwise. Even the former president of Iran has criticized the U.S. for our lack of freedom in our elections. It would help the U.S. image worldwide if Oklahoma would fix this dreadful blot.”
Mr. Winger also wrote, “…in 29 states, the petition for minor party or independent presidential candidates is at or below 5,000. The states are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Also DC, which makes 30 if one counts DC.”
Oklahomans for Ballot Access Reform (OBAR, www.OkVoterChoice.org) is a coalition of the Oklahoma Libertarian, Green, and Constitution Parties and many Independents.