Oklahoma State Question No. 740 (2008)
Third party registration was restricted in Oklahoma in 1974 when it increased the amount of signatures needed to qualify a party for the ballot to 5 percent of the total votes cast in the presidential election. This amounted (by todays standards) to an increase from 5,000 signatures to about 70,000 signatures that must be collected in 90 days. This was challenged in the 1976 court case, McClendon v. Slater.
U.S. District Judge Lee West released an opinion that called Oklahoma's ballot access the "harshest" in the national. He also found the Attorney General's office as acting with "inexcusable conduct" to not allow the Libertarian Party on the ticket.
The US Supreme Court voted 6-3 to uphold Oklahoma state law against a Libertarian Party challenge. Specifically the court upheld a law that does not permit a qualified party to invite members of other parties to vote in its primary.
Third parties also are required to receive 10 percent of the vote in one general election to retain recognition and stay on the ballot for the next general election in accordance with today's law.
Some of the groups arguments for the initiative include:
- Oklahoma was the only state to only offer 2 parties on 2004 Presidential ballot
- The state now has the highest amount of signatures required to qualify a party for the ballot with Petitioning requirement for full party ballot access 73,188 valid signatures for the full party access and 43,913 valid signatures for the Presidential primary.
Also the 2007 Oklahoma Republican Party Platform states: “We support less restrictive ballot access for all political parties and candidates.” (III.G.6.)
The group also had a donor that has promised the initiative $50,000 if it can earn $25,000.
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.”
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."
no information yet
Insufficient number of signatures filed
OBAR filed approximately 14,000 signatures in January 2008, far fewer than the 74,117 required, but an OBAR news release stated that the number filed showed "strong support for expanding the number of choices on the ballot."
The group's difficulty in collecting sufficient signatures was attributed to a hostile and fearful climate resulting from indictments brought against the Oklahoma 3, three individuals involved in a previous petition effort for the Taxpayers Bill of Rights initiative (TABOR). The effort was also hampered by Oklahoma’s residency law requiring petition circulators to be state residents, the requirement that the TABOR effort is charged with violating. Oklahoma’s best professional petitioners are currently working on initiatives in other states that pay far more per signature than OBAR can afford to pay, and they cannot bring in circulators from other states.
- Oklahoma 2008 ballot measures
- Campaign finance requirements for Oklahoma ballot measures
- Oklahoma Initiative and Referendum Law
- Oklahoma signature requirements
- Petition drive deadlines in 2008
- OBAR petition
- Political coalition amends ballot access petition, News Examiner-Enterprise, October 16, 2007
- McClendon v. Slater, The Oklahoma State Courts Network
- Judge Orders Libertarian Party Candidates Put on State Ballot, The Daily Oklahoman, July 31, 1984
- 10th Circuit says 'No' to the right to vote
- Oklahoma Registration Forms
- US Supreme Court Rules Against Oklahoma Libertarian Party, Ballot Access News, May 23, 2005
- Get ballot access reform on the ballot, Muskogee Phoenix, Oct. 23, 2007
- Ex-congressman supports ballot reform, The Journal Record, Oct. 24, 2007
- Oklahoma Ballot Access Initiative Tries New Tack, Ballot Access News, Nov. 9, 2007
- OBAR Endorsements
- Oklahoma Ballot Access Initiative Doomed by Oklahoma Circulator Restrictions, Ballot Access News, Nov. 20, 2007