Libertarian Party Of Oklahoma Has 676 Registrants

As of May 4, 2016 (PDF), The Libertarian Party of Oklahoma has 676 registered members in the state. Oklahoma, Tulsa, Cleveland, and Canadian counties make up the top 4 counties with 192, 126, 71, and 35 registrants respectively.

There are nine counties with registrations between 10-19 Libertarians. There are twenty-one counties with no Libertarians. The other 43 counties have Libertarian registrations in the single digits.

It is tough to make a one to one comparison between these numbers and the last time the Libertarian Party was officially recognized in 2000 as the Oklahoma Election Board did not keep registration records between the January 15 reports in 2000 and 2001. In January 2001, the Libertarian Party had 770 registered members.

Other statistics of note, the American Elect Party still has members but lost one since January, for a total of 12. Registrants for the Democrats, Republicans and Independents all gained in numbers. The Republican party gained the most registrations in the last 4 months.

Senator Holt Introduces Bill To Remove Party Check Boxes From Voter Registration Forms

Last year, Senator Holt introduced a number of great bills and a couple of bad bills attempting to reform Oklahoma’s election system. This year, he has introduced yet another bill that could have some mixed results for the state and new political parties.

This year, Senator Holt introduced SB1016. This bill makes some changes to the voter registration process to make it easier for the State and County Election Boards to verify the identifying information on the voter registration form. This could make it easier to verify and complete the voter registration process.

However, the bill also contains language that changes how voters identify which party they wish to join. Currently, all recognized political parties are listed on the forms and a voter simply checks the box for the party they wish to identify with. There is also a box with a blank line which voters can check and then write in the name of the party they wish to join. Under the current system, if a new party gains recognition, the forms will have to be reprinted to include that new party. The old forms are still valid as voters can write in the name of the new party, but the state is required by law to print new forms.

Under the language in SB1016, the check boxes will be removed and in their place will be a blank line on which voters write in their party preference. While this change would make it so that the state does not have to reprint the forms every time a new party is formed, it will also make it more difficult for new parties to gain new members. If voters have to write in the party they wish to join, new parties will have to manage massive registration campaigns that could distract from other duties.

This change could also have an unintended affect on the duopoly Republican and Democratic parties as well. If voters have to write in their party of choice, more registering voters may end up just leaving the line blank. This will result in those voters being registered as independents. This could mean an even greater increase in the number of voters registered as independents in the state.

While saving the state money on printing costs is a noble goal, we wonder if doing so at the expense of new parties is worth it.

Libertarian, Green parties to launch joint petition drive, asking for volunteers

HELP WANTED!

The newly-formed Libertarian/Green Coalition is asking for volunteers to help get Green and Libertarian candidates on the 2016 election ballot, with their respective party labels.

Each party must gather the state’s required number of signatures – 24,745 – by March 1, 2016 to become ballot-qualified. Party leaders believe that, by working together, they can attract and coordinate enough petitioners to ensure that Oklahomans get their first alternative-party options since 2000.

Anyone interested in joining this historic endeavor is invited to a free, volunteer petitioner’s training event, from 1 – 2 p.m. Saturday, June 20, in Rooms A-B on the fourth floor of the Ronald J. Norick Downtown Library, 300 Park Avenue, in Oklahoma City. We’ll have T-shirts, custom-made for this campaign, available to attendees who donate to the cause. (Donations will help cover our room reservation and our printing costs for forms and shirts.)

Read and share the PRESS RELEASE. Please join our Facebook event!

Republicans Out Number Democrats In Oklahoma, Independents Still Growing Fastest

Voter Registrations as of January 2015Yesterday, the Oklahoma Election Board released the official 2015 voter registration stats for Oklahoma. This new data shows that Republicans officially outnumber Democrats in the state.

As of January 15th, 2015, Republicans have 886,153 registered voters while Democrats have 882,866 voters, a difference of 3,467 voters. This continues the trend of more Oklahomans choosing to register as Republicans while fewer are sticking with the Democratic party.

However, what is not getting much exposure in the media is that Independent registrations are growing at a much faster rate than the Republican party. While Republicans have seen a 3.7% increase over last year’s registrations, Independents have seen a 9.44% increase. The 10 year increase is similarly stacked in favor of Independents, with 7.78% increase for Republicans and a 15.08% increase for Independents.

The Oklahoma Democratic Party has had a worse time as of late. They lost 0.33% registrations since last year and 19.77% registrations in the last 10 years.

While raw numbers still have Independents trailing far behind the duopoly parties, the fact that they are growing at a consistently  faster rate bodes well for Oklahoma politics. As Independent registrations grow, it will be harder and harder for the Legislature to ignore the needs and desires of Independent voters and the parties they wish to form.

Finally, if we average the rate of change over the last 20 years and project these numbers out to 2025, we see some major shifts. This assumes that nothing else changes in Oklahoma, just voter registrations. In this projection, by 2025 we will have a split of 33% Democrats, 46% Republicans and 21% Independents.

Record Number Of Americans Believe We Need A Third Party

60% of Americans Believe a 3rd Party is Needed

With all the issues of the Federal Government, budget battles, government shut downs, the debt ceiling, etc, and those issues’ roots in the two duopoly parties, it is becoming clearer to more and more Americans that things will not change without serious challenges from a third option. In a recent Gallup Poll, 60% of Americans polled feel that the duopoly candidates are not doing a good job and that we need a new party to rise up and challenge them.

What is really surprising about this poll, however, is the non-partisan nature of the results. While it won’t surprise many of us to know that 71% of Independent voters desire an alternative party, it might surprise some to learn that 52% of Republicans and 49% of Democrats feel the same. As Gallup puts it:

Republicans (52%) and Democrats (49%) are similar in their perceptions that a third party is needed. In fact, this marks the first time that a majority of either party’s supporters have said a third party is needed. Continue reading

Americans Elect No Longer A Recognized Political Party In Oklahoma

Prior to the 2012 Presidential election, of all the parties that petitioned for ballot access, only one was able to gather the 51,739 valid signatures required. That party was the Americans Elect Party. Unfortunately, the national party never fielded a candidate and attempts by the state branch to place Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson on the ballot failed.

This failure to field a candidate for the presidential election has resulted in the State Election Board voting to no longer recognize the Americans Elect Party in the state. This leaves the state of Oklahoma with only the Republican and Democratic parties as recognized political parties. Those 18 who were registered as Americans Elect will have their voter registration changed to show as Independent.

In support of the decision, Assistant Attorney General Neal Leader wrote:

The 10 percent requirement … is applicable to all recognized political parties, and a party’s decision not to field candidates at a general election does not vary the requirement.

Unfortunately, this may not be accurate. According to Oklahoma law, recognized parties are those that meet the following definition:

§26 1 107. Recognized political parties.

Recognized political parties shall include parties whose candidates’ names appeared on the General Election ballot in 1974, and those parties which shall be formed according to law.

If this is accurate, it means that the Democratic and Republican parties are not required to maintain the 10% general election vote requirement because they were the only parties to field candidates in that election. However, this has not yet been applied to those two parties as neither has yet to receive fewer than 10% of the vote. You can expect that if this section stands and one of those parties were to fall below that requirement, there will be legal challenges as this section would seem to violate the 14th Amendment.

None of this makes the fact that once again Oklahoma voters have their choices in coming elections artificially restricted any easier to swallow. The failure to not just field a candidate, but to also require those candidates that are on the ballot meet a 10% vote requirement weakens voter confidence in the state of Oklahoma. It makes it far more difficult for a political party to build a successful presence in the state if that party is not given more than one election to build a base of support.

This news highlights the need of passing ballot access reform happen soon. Please contact your State Representative and State Senator and demand that they pass Ballot Access Reform this coming Legislative session.