As of May 4, 2016 (PDF), The Libertarian Party of Oklahoma has 676 registered members in the state. Oklahoma, Tulsa, Cleveland, and Canadian counties make up the top 4 counties with 192, 126, 71, and 35 registrants respectively.
There are nine counties with registrations between 10-19 Libertarians. There are twenty-one counties with no Libertarians. The other 43 counties have Libertarian registrations in the single digits.
It is tough to make a one to one comparison between these numbers and the last time the Libertarian Party was officially recognized in 2000 as the Oklahoma Election Board did not keep registration records between the January 15 reports in 2000 and 2001. In January 2001, the Libertarian Party had 770 registered members.
Other statistics of note, the American Elect Party still has members but lost one since January, for a total of 12. Registrants for the Democrats, Republicans and Independents all gained in numbers. The Republican party gained the most registrations in the last 4 months.
This past Friday, the Libertarian Party of Oklahoma filed the necessary form needed to begin collecting signatures toward ballot access for their party. The Libertarian Party has not been a ballot qualified party since 2000 and if they can succeed, they will be able to place their candidate for President on the ballot in 2016.
According to their press release, they are aware of the difficulty ahead of them.
The Libertarian Party of Oklahoma recognizes the fact that current Oklahoma law requires us to gather well over 41,000 valid signatures. This process requirement, while the lowest raw signature requirement in Oklahoma in over 20 years, is still one of the most strict party petitioning laws in the US.
They also retain hope that the legislature will pass HB2181 which would greatly reduce the signatures they need to gather.
The OKLP is starting this process in the hope that the Legislature does something in hasn’t been able to do since 1974, voluntarily reduce the petition burden for new political parties. This year, Speaker Hickman has introduced HB2181 which would reduce the number of signatures needed to form a new party from the current 5% of the last general election to 1% of the last election for governor. We support this bill and are seeking its passage into law this year.
If HB2181 is passed and signed into law, our petition requirement would fall from 41,000 signatures to just over 8,200 signatures. This brings Oklahoma closer in line with the national and regional averages for party petitioning.
They are also asking for help in gathering signatures. They have set up a page with instructions on how signatures need to be gathered on their website.
We are excited by this news and wish the Libertarian Party, and any other party that is going to seek ballot access the best of luck.
This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending and speaking at the 2014 Oklahoma libertarian Convention. This meeting had a number of speakers as well as the election of new officers.
During my speech, I spoke about Oklahoma’s terrible ballot access laws and the effort we have been making to reform those laws to return them to their pre-1974 status. In this, I highlighted the gradual improvement in the attitude of the Legislature towards reform. I then called for more Independents to run for office. The reason for this call to action is that the Legislature will not move unless pushed in that direction and the best way to do so is to run for Legislative seats. Those in office need to work for their seat and we need to show them that the only way to do that is to pass reform. I will post a more in depth treatment of my speech soon.
Another set of speakers was Norma Sapp and Porter Davis who spoke about their work to get legalization of marijuana passed. In response to their work, the Oklahoma Libertarian Party voted to officially support legalization of marijuana in Oklahoma. There was one other aspect of their speeches that has a greater bearing for OBAR in that they discussed the power of the citizen initiative. They are working within several cities to put ballot measures in front of voters to decriminalize marijuana within the city borders. These citywide initiatives are often far easier to enact than their statewide counterparts. Imagine what we could do within individual cities to change the way the city leadership is elected to make them more fair.
Charles Key Spoke about the rise of the police state but a significant portion of his speech was dedicated to transparency in government. In this he spoke at length about the Calendar Committee that Speaker Shannon created last year. He spoke about how the process before was controlled by a single individual, the Speaker of the House, and how the Calendar Committee was meant to provide more openness. He then spoke about how the openness promised really never surfaced and that the committee still had the weakness of a single person being able to control which bills were heard. He then followed that by stating that the removal of the Calendar Committee this year was a step backwards even though its creation was not a much of a step forward.
The final speaker was Geoffrey Neale the Chair of the National Libertarian Party. In his speech he spoke about how sometimes we need to think smaller when it comes to building a reputation in elections. He said we need to be running for School Boards, Water Boards, Town and City Council seats. These lower level seats are often non-partisan and are far easier for Independents to win. By seeking and winning these seats, it becomes far easier for us to build a reputation that can carry us for state level seats. He also recommended two books that anyone who wants to run for office should read, How to Win Friends and Influence People, and The Art of War.
The final round of business was the election officers and other business. In this, Steve Long was elected as Chair of the Oklahoma Libertarian Party. He has worked as the Treasurer for the party for the last two years. The party also voted in support of legalization of marijuana and to purchase a sponsorship at Southland Liberty Fest in April.
You can visit their website to learn more about the Oklahoma Libertarian Party. Or you can follow them on Twitter @OklahomaLP
Full Disclosure: I am a member of the Oklahoma Libertarian Party. I was elected as Secretary of the party at this convention.
On March 8, 2014, The Oklahoma Libertarian Party will be holding it’s state Convention. At this event, there will be several speakers on issues concerning those who lean Libertarian as well as other important issues for Independents in Oklahoma. The following people have already signed on to speak at the event.
- RJ Harris, candidate for Oklahoma Governor.
- E. Zachary Knight, Oklahomans for Ballot Access Reform
- Charles Key, former Oklahoma state representative
- Dax Eubank, liberty activist
Like most party conventions, this will be a time for those who are registered Libertarians to vote on key issues the party will tackle in Oklahoma as well as elect officers to run the party. If you want to get an inside track on what Libertarians have to offer Oklahoma, this is a great time to do so.
Disclosure: I will be one of the Speakers and am a member of the Libertarian Party