Yesterday, House Republicans met and elected a new House Speaker to replace outgoing Rep. TW Shannon who stepped down from the position to pursue a US Senate seat. This is great news for proponents of Ballot Access Reform for two reasons.
The first reason is that Rep Shannon was a key figure in blocking ballot access reform from a vote in 2013. We were never clear on his reasons but it doesn’t matter much at this point. He has stepped down as Speaker as he seeks the Republican nomination for the US Senate.
The second reason is that his new replacement is none other than HB2134’s author Representative Jeff Hickman. HB2134 is the bill that reduces the signatures required to form a new party from te current 5% requirement to a flat 5,000.
This is certainly a unique opportunity for ballot access reform in Oklahoma. I am unaware of any time in the past where the Speaker of the House was also a principal author of a ballot access reform bill. We certainly hope that Rep. Hickman will help insure that real reform advances through the House this year.
We ask all supporters of ballot access reform to send words of encouragement to the new Speaker and ask that HB2134 be heard on the floor.