Today, the Tulsa World published my Letter to the Editor. This letter was pretty much word for word my letter to NewsOK, but the World made several edits. Nothing that changed the meaning in any way, just the flow. It is great to see that the World finally picked it up. This letter has sparked a pretty great conversation in the comments that had yet to exist on the Tulsa World website.
I will express one aside here. The Tulsa World is a supporter of what are called “paywalls” in which non-subscribing readers are blocked from reading more than 10 or so articles a month. This means that it is likely that some of you may not be able to read the letter or the comments. This is one reason why I like to post the letter contents in full.
Once again, ballot access reform is on the table in Oklahoma. Will this be the year that Oklahoma joins the rest of the U.S. in easing the requirements to form a new party? Will this year be the year that Oklahoma citizens can look forward to real choice in future presidential elections?
Or will we see a continuation of the status quo?
Unfortunately, things are off to a very rocky start. While bills have been introduced in both the state House and Senate, these bills are in the exact same position similar bills were in the past two legislative sessions. That position ended with prior efforts dying in committee.
The House version, HB 2134, reduces the signature requirement to 5,000 signatures, the same requirement needed prior to 1974. Yet, the Senate version, SB 668, retains the current 5 percent requirement but drops the presidential elections from the equation. This has been the Senate hard line for many years.
It is time for the Senate to end its war on Oklahoma voter choice and amend SB 668 to reflect the language introduced in the House. There are no valid reasons for keeping the status quo. There are no valid reasons for blocking a change for the better in Oklahoma politics.
It is time for change. If three presidential elections in a row where Oklahoma was the only state in the U.S. with two choices on the ballot is not evidence to support that, then what is?
Please take the time to write in to your local papers as well as the Tulsa World and NewsOK. The more letters that are published, the more seriously people will take the need for reform. Additionally, we ask that you continue to contact your State Representatives and Senators and ask them to pass reform.