When someone asks you to sign a petition initiative to allow greater ballot access for third-party candidates, we encourage you, if you are a registered voter, to sign.
Oklahoma is one of the worst, if not the worst, state in the United States in its ballot access laws. Oklahoma also has a closed primary system that effectively prevents many eligible voters from participating in the electoral process.
Several small political parties are trying to change the former.
Members of the Constitution, Libertarian and Green parties, along with independents, kicked off a petition initiative campaign Tuesday to try to get them easier ballot access.
Presently, third parties in Oklahoma must obtain the signatures of 5 percent of the total vote in the last gubernatorial or presidential election to gain official recognition. Five percent would mean the parties would have to obtain about 73,000 signatures to get their candidates on ballots.
They want to lower the percentage of required signatures for ballot access to 2 percent, which based on last year’s election, would be about 5,000 signatures.
Presently, third parties also are required to receive 10 percent of the vote in one general election to retain recognition and stay on the ballot for the next general election.
That’s an almost impossible feat in any state, which prevents third parties from getting a foothold in Oklahoma politics.
That needs to change. Other states in recent years have provided more liberal access for candidates of political parties outside the two major political parties.
So sign the initiative when offered the opportunity.
The three parties and independents have until Jan. 13 to collect the signatures of 74,117 registered voters to get their measure on the next general election ballot.
Elections in the United States are supposed to be about allowing everyone to participate, not shutting them out.