Letter To The Editor Published In NewsOK Asking For Reform

I regularly send letters to the editor. I find it to be a great way to address issues that often get overlooked by the media. Ballot Access Reform is one of those issue. Of all the media sites in Oklahoma, NewsOK seems to be one of the easier outlets to get a letter published. While NewsOK already took the stance that Oklahoma needs reform, that was many weeks before the Legislative session began. So it is important to keep this issue in the forefront of the media. So I sent a letter to NewsOK and other media outlets and NewsOK was the first to publish it.

So here is the original unedited version of the letter:

Once again, Ballot Access Reform is on the table in Oklahoma. Will this year be the year that Oklahoma joins the rest of the US 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% requirement but drops the Presidential elections from the equation. This has been the hard Senate 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 US with two choices on the ballot is not evidence to support that, then what is? If three Presidential elections in a row with lower voter turnout than the previous election is not evidence in support of that, then what is?

The following was published on February 6, 2013. I like to post both versions of the letter as it helps to see what edits may get made to your own letters.

Ballot access reform is again on the table in Oklahoma. Will this be the year that we join the rest of the United States in easing the requirements to form a new party? Will this be the year Oklahomans 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 rocky start. While bills have been introduced in both houses of the Legislature, these bills are in the same position as similar bills were in the past two legislative sessions. That position ended with prior efforts dying in committee. The House version, House Bill 2134, reduces the signature requirement to 5,000, the same requirement needed prior to 1974. Yet the Senate version, Senate Bill 668, retains the current 5 percent requirement but drops the presidential elections from the equation. This has been the hard Senate line for many years.

It’s 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 and blocking a change for the better in Oklahoma politics. It’s time for change. If three presidential elections in a row when Oklahoma was the only state with two choices on the ballot isn’t evidence to support that, what is?

So please, write letters to every newspaper you can and voice your support for reform in this state. The more voices that are aired, the more will be heard.

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