While Donald Trump took all 7 of Oklahoma’s Electoral College votes and the national election, the Libertarian Party of Oklahoma posted a major victory of their own. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate for President, posted a vote return of 5.74% and a total of 83,334 votes in the Oklahoma election. This election return means that the Libertarian Party beat the needed 2.5% of the vote to stay recognized as a political party in Oklahoma. This means that they will not have to petition to be recognized for the 2018 election.
Had the State Legislature not reduced the percentage of the vote necessary to retain party recognition, the Libertarian Party would have fallen far short of the previous 10%. We are glad to see that the lower threshold, although still not as low the 1% requirement prior to 1974, allows the Libertarian Party to focus the next two years on building their party. The only other party, aside from the Republican and Democratic parties, to meet the previous 10% vote test was the Reform Party in 1996 when Ross Perot won just over 10% of the vote.
With this victory for the Libertarian Party, it is unlikely that the Legislature will have much incentive or will to further reduce party petitioning or retention requirements. However, there are plenty of other ballot access reform measures that we will be focusing on. Chief among these is reducing the petition requirement for Independent Presidential candidates and Presidential candidates of unrecognized parties as well as provide for a fee in lieu of a petition. Both Jill Stein and Rocky De La Fuente are suing Oklahoma over the high presidential petition requirement.
We will continue to advocate for further changes to our election system.