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Oklahoma House Rules Committee May Act on Ballot Access

Published on February 24, 2009, by in General.

The Oklahoma House Rules Committee is currently thinking about Representative Charles Key’s HB 1072. That bill lowers the petition for new and previously unqualified parties from 5% of the last vote cast, to 5,000 signatures.

Key has been told informally that if he amends the bill to require a petition of 5% of the last gubernatorial vote, his bill will pass the Rules Committee. That would mean the bill caused no improvement in presidential election years, but at least it would substantially improve the requirement in mid-term years (so that the 2010 requirement would be 46,324 signatures instead of 73,134 signatures).

Ironically, even if the proposed bill passed, Oklahoma would still be the only state in the nation with a mandatory petition procedure for a new party to place its nominees on the November ballot with a party label, in excess of 3% of the last gubernatorial vote. Although there are 5% petition procedures for a fully-qualified party in Maine, Minnesota, and Rhode Island, the Maine, Minnesota and Rhode Island 5% procedures are not mandatory; groups can appear on the November ballot with their party label next to their nominees in those three states, with much easier alternate procedures. Thanks to Richard Prawdzienski for this news.

8 Responses

  1. It is all about finances.

    Rhode Island’s ‘easier’ path precludes the ‘party’ from enjoying the financial benefits of being a recognized party in the state. What good does it do to run candidates for office if you cannot support them financially in the same manner as your oppononets.

    In RI’s case, the alternative path is not at all equivalent, and sets up the new party for failure at the polls.

  2. Richard

    I agree with you. But there is still an important distinction between Rhode Island (where a new party candidate can appear with a party label for 1,000 signatures) and Oklahoma (which will never print a party label unless the group gets either 46,000 or 73,000 signatures, depending on which year it is, a presidential year or a gubernatorial year).

  3. Andy

    I’ve heard that fringe candidate James Germalic made it on the ballot in Oklahoma for a US Senate race back in the ’90s. Given Oklahoma’s high signature requirement for ballot access, how did he manage to get on the ballot?

  4. ETJB

    Also, Minnesota only gives you about 2 weeks in the summer to circulate a nominating petiting for any non-major party candidate….

  5. Richard

    Oklahoma does not require any signatures at all for any independent candidate, except for presidential independents. That is the crazy thing about Oklahoma. All an independent (except for president) must do is pay the same moderate filing fee that Democrats and Republicans pay.

  6. etjb

    Hmm. Why, that does seem a bit odd. If they are really worried about a cluttered ballot, then that would seem to be counterproductive…

    How many non-presidential Independent candidates are typically on the ballot?

  7. Andy

    “Richard Says:
    February 24th, 2009 at 2:12 pm
    Oklahoma does not require any signatures at all for any independent candidate, except for presidential independents. That is the crazy thing about Oklahoma. All an independent (except for president) must do is pay the same moderate filing fee that Democrats and Republicans pay.”

    Since it is much easier to get on the ballot in Oklahoma for offices other than President, then why is it that I don’t hear about Libertarians or other minor party candidates in Oklahoma?

  8. Andy

    If the anwser to the above question is that it is easier to run as an independent for a lower level office in Oklahoma than it is to run with a minor party label next to one’s name, then why don’t I hear about more Libertarians, Greens, Constitution Party members, etc…, running for lower level offices in Oklahoma?

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