As 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.