With SB 668 being sent to the Senate Rules Committee for review, I feel that it is important to contact those members to express the need to amend the bill to reflect the 5,000 signature requirement in the House Bill. As such, I am providing you with the letter that I sent to Senator Rob Johnson, the author of SB 668. I also sent a similarly worded letter to the other members of the Senate Rules Committee.
So if you are having trouble writing a letter or need some talking points when making phone calls, feel free to use this letter as a launching point.
Dear Senator Johnson,
My name is Zachary Knight. I am the Chief Editor of OKVoterChoice.org, the online home of Oklahomans for Ballot Access Reform. I am writing to you today regarding the introduction of SB668 to the 2013 Legislative Session. I am grateful to see that you have taken up this important reform for Oklahoma’s political climate. However, I must express some disappointment in the current wording of the bill.
According to the bill as introduced, SB668 would not bring much relief to new parties attempting to form in Oklahoma. SB668 simply removes the Presidential elections from the equation. While this language would bring some stability to the petition requirements, it will do little to ease the burden of fledgling parties in the state.
Additionally, it is this language that has led reform bills in previous sessions to die in committee as the Senate refused to amend the bills to reflect a flat signature requirement as proposed in similar House bills. For four years, the Senate has maintained that the requirement should be kept at 5% of the Gubernatorial elections and for four years, this demand has led to Oklahoma voters continuing to be denied voter choice.
Representative Hickman has introduced HB2134 which would reduce the signature requirement to a flat 5,000 signatures. I would implore you to amend your bill, SB668, to reflect that same requirement. Oklahoma voters deserve to have more choices on the ballot.
I fear that without this reform, Oklahoma politics and elections will continue to stagnate as fewer and fewer people take part in the election process. We have seen this over the last 3 Presidential elections. Each election has seen significantly lower voter turnout than the previous election. How much longer will the Oklahoma Senate sit idly by while Oklahoma voters lose faith in the Democratic process?
Once again, I ask that you amend SB668 to reflect the 5,000 signature requirement in the House Bill.
Thank you for your time. I look forward to watching the progress of your bill.
E. Zachary Knight