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Ballot Access Opportunity Opens Up in Oklahoma

October 1st, 2007

Shane Cory from the national Libertarian Party released an urgent update today on a somewhat unexpected opportunity for ballot access in Oklahoma. Normally, this state’s ridiculously unfair ballot access laws make it nearly impossible for anyone other than Democrats or Republicans to field candidates and actually have their names appear on the election ballots. However, a generous donor has pledged some $60,000 in contributions toward a group called Oklahomans for Ballot Access Reform (OBAR) that is trying to place an initiative on the ballot that would substantially lower the current ballot access barriers and give all parties a fair chance at providing voters with meaningful choices at the polls.

The contributions are needed in order to pay petitioners and collect enough signatures within the legally allotted time period for getting an initiative on the ballot. The Libertarians and other “third party” organizations still need another $20,000 or so to ensure that the required number of signatures will be collected before the deadline. Therefore, those of you who are involved with ballot access issues or are simply tired of the same two parties dominating the political process over and over again should consider making a contribution towards our efforts. Here is the text of Shane Cory’s letter.


Dear Libertarian,

One of the most effective ways Republicans and Democrats maintain and expand upon their own power is by controlling access to the ballot.

It’s a little-known and ugly aspect of politics. Rather than taking part in fair competition, the two major parties do just about anything they can get away with to keep Libertarians, Greens, independents and others off of the ballot each Election Day.

One of the worst states in the union right now in regards to ballot access is Oklahoma. They require that third parties obtain signatures from 5 percent of registered voters who voted in the previous election (more than 48,000 signatures currently).

While that alone is a large enough hurdle, in order for a political party to retain ballot access, their candidate for governor or president must receive 10 percent of the vote in an election — something that is extremely unreasonable for a growing or new political party.

For the 2008 presidential election, the national Libertarian Party and the LP of Oklahoma had basically written off ballot access for our presidential candidate. Given the expense, strain on the volunteers, and the fact that we have to go through the same process for each election, ballot access in Oklahoma seemed like a challenge that we could not overcome this year.

However, there is hope!

Recently, a group of independents and third party leaders combined their efforts to move forward with an initiative that would change ballot access laws in Oklahoma. The change would reduce the ballot access requirement to 5,000 signatures and the retention requirement to 1 percent of the vote — a significant and fair improvement.

The group, Oklahomans for Ballot Access Reform (OBAR), began the very large task of collecting over 90,000 signatures within 90 days in order to get the initiative on the ballot. If the signatures are collected in time, the group will place the initiative on either the primary ballot (which presents some risk), or on the general ballot in 2008 (which would not get our 2008 presidential candidate on the ballot, but it would open the door for the entire Oklahoma LP in 2010, 2012 and onward).

Recently, I was in Oklahoma to promote the efforts of OBAR, but I thought the chances were slim that they could actually complete the petition drive. They had only raised about $10,000 at the time and had limited volunteer resources.

It would take a few coinciding, extraordinary events to complete such a large signature drive in such a short amount of time.

At least $90,000 would be needed for signatures alone, along with an army of petitioners — who per state law must be Oklahoma residents — another tactic the R’s and D’s use to complicate ballot access. In short, this drive requires a great deal of MONEY AND MANPOWER.

To my amazement, as of just a few days ago, completing this drive became a real possibility.

First, there is a group of petitioners on the ground — 90 petitioners in all — working on another matter in Oklahoma. This group is willing to circulate OBAR’s petitions throughout the state at one dollar per signature (a very good deal).

Second — and this is significant — a very generous, anonymous donor has committed a total of $60,000 if we can contribute $20,000 to OBAR’s efforts.

Combining the $80,000 above with the $10,000 previously raised will put us right at the finish line . . . on schedule.

If we can raise $20,000, then we could be saving the Libertarian Party untold amounts of money and volunteer man-hours in the future.

Because I’m personally committed to this effort, I’ve contributed $500 to this drive. Our chairman, William Redpath, was able to double my contribution with a gift of $1,000.

But we need your help as well, and time is very short. OBAR is already 17 days into their petition drive, leaving only 73 days to finish.

Before the anonymous donor sends the remainder of his gift to OBAR (he has already contributed $5,000), we need to send in our $20,000.

We must move quickly.

While the LNC has the money in the bank now, if I sign over a check to OBAR, I would have to hold payroll for our staff and myself until we make up the shortfall. When I brought this up to our staff, I asked for volunteers who could follow my lead and go without a paycheck on Wednesday. I can proudly tell you that, without hesitation, they all volunteered.

This is an unprecedented opportunity that we must take advantage of.

Can you help us raise $20,000 as soon as possible?

Click here to contribute $500, $250, $100 or $25 to this great effort.

Any assistance that you can provide will be immediately appreciated and put to good use.

Thank you for your time and for all that you do for our party.

In Liberty,

Shane Cory
Executive Director
Libertarian National Committee

P.S. While $20,000 is a significant fundraising goal for the LP, in the event that we exceed this goal, any excess funds will be applied to completing ballot access drives in other states (currently running in North Carolina, South Dakota and Nebraska). Please do all that you can and contribute today by clicking here.



2 Responses to “Ballot Access Opportunity Opens Up in Oklahoma”

  1. comment number 1 by: Nicole Linkletter

    Thanks for the nice read, keep up the interesting posts..

  2. comment number 2 by: Ima Spammer

    I cannot agree with you in 100% regarding some thoughts, but you have a good point of view

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