Oklahoma’s Low Voter Turnout Is Good News For Party Petitioners

Voter Turnout As A Percentage Of VotersAs votes are counted following Oklahoma’s 2014 election, one thing is clear, Oklahoma has had one of its worst voter turnout rates in well over 20 years. Based on current data available (voter registrations, election results) from the Oklahoma Election¬†Board, less than 41% of voters turned out to vote for governor.

While this low voter turnout has severe repercussions for Oklahoma’s political climate, with many elections decided at filing or in the primaries. It also means that the governor of Oklahoma was chosen by less than 25% of Oklahoma’s registered voters.

However, there is a bright side to this low number. Those seeking to form a new political party or circulate an initiative petition will need far fewer signatures to be successful in the run up to the next election in 2016.

Based on current voter turnout numbers, to form a new party in Oklahoma for the 2016 Presidential election, those circulating the petition will need only 41,188 signatures, compared to the 51,738 signatures needed in the run up to the 2012 Presidential election. That is a decrease of 10,550 signatures, or a decrease of 20.4%. Similar trends can be found for initiative petitions. This is the fewest raw signatures needed since the lead up to the 2000 Presidential election and the 1984 Presidential election before it.

This means two things. The first is that one or more new parties could be on the ballot in 2016. It also means that petitions that failed this year, could make it on the ballot two years from now. This is a great time to be a petitioner in Oklahoma.

9 thoughts on “Oklahoma’s Low Voter Turnout Is Good News For Party Petitioners

  1. I have a question.
    The marijuana petitions in Oklahoma were told they needed 155,000 plus when this article puts it at 51,738. Why the huge disparity?

  2. Rod there are several types of petitions. The MMJ petition is to change the Oklahoma Constitution which requires 15% of the last GOV race. This changes our number of signatures from 155,00 to 122,00.

  3. Lisa, that really sucks. Petitions for the ballot should all be the same low requirement.

    Oklahoma is a repressive state.
    “Oklahoma ranked 11th most corrupt state in the country.”
    In my opinion, it’s the so called Right-Wing Christians elected to office that corrupts the state. “Prisons for Profit” which is nothing more than state run “trafficking in Human Beings.” and big money from the 1%. http://tinyurl.com/pt69hu6

    • Yes. Lisa is correct. There are different type of petitions with different requirements.

      To form a new party, you have 12 months to gather signatures equal to 5% of the last general election voter count. Either for President or Governor, whichever was most recent.

      To get a State Constitutional Amendment on the ballot, you have 90 days to gather a signature count equal to 15% of the last governor election.

      To get a state law on the ballot, you have 90 days to gather a signature count equal to 8% of the last governor election.

      It is the opinion of Oklahomans for Ballot Access Reform that all these requirements need changed.

      For parties, we want the law restored to its pre-1974 level of a flat 5,000 signatures.

      For ballot questions, we would like to see the signature count lowered and the time allowed for gathering signatures increased.

  4. Oklahoma Petitions laws are some of the most restrictive in the country. Requiring more signatures in the least amount of time.
    Oklahoma is a repressive state and will continue to be that way until the people STAND up against repression. When the people in the state that controls the laws are making a profit on the backs of it people in prison, something is very wrong. After spending the summer working on the MMJ petition and talking to people about voters right and the state of Oklahoma, it become very apparent that most people have NO CLUE who and what they vote for, if they even vote.

    • My understand that in 2009 there was a group that was trying to change this and only got one small piece of their law passed. They piece was changing it from the presidential voter turnout to Gov, which did lower the number of signatures. I sent out emails to these same people who wrote that bill in 2009 this past summer asking to try again. CRICKETS is all I heard.

      • Yes. The State legislature placed a question on the ballot in 2010 that change the requirement from a percentage of the last general election (whether presidential or governor, whichever was most recent) to just the governor elections. This stabilized the signature counts but did not reduce the burden overall.

      • The reason why you were not able to get through to the legislature again about it is because the state Republican party feels they did their duty to ease ballot question petitioning and are done with it. They are not at all interested in revisiting it any time soon.

  5. Oklahoma need’s to Fully Decriminalization and fully Legalize Marijuana and tax it and use the taxes for our schools and roads and in our food banks

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