Category: ‘Oklahoma Elections’

What Primary Races Interest Me The Most

May 27, 2014 Posted by E. Zachary Knight

As an Independent voter in Oklahoma, I am in an interesting position. I am not allowed to vote in any of the primaries in the state, despite having a stake and interest in the outcomes of those elections. In many primaries, the outcome determines the winner of a particular seat. In others, it determines who will be on the November ballot. But in all cases, I am excluded along with hundreds of thousands of other Oklahoma voters.

So there are a number of primary races going on in Oklahoma. Some extremely important, some less so. But in all of them, we have a lot we can learn from. I will probably explore all of these races in detail soon, but for now, these are the primaries that I find most interesting or have an impact on me directly.

  • Full US Senate Term Republican Primary: Senator Jim Inhofe has a lot of challengers to his Senate Seat. He is likely to win as he has far more money than any of his primary challengers. We will look more at who is running against him soon.
  • Two Year US Senate Term: There are both Republican and Democratic primaries happening for this. There are a number of big names going for both nominations. We will explore them all.
  • Governor Republican Primary: May Fallin has received challenges within her own party. Will she stand up to them?
  • US House District 2: Markwayne Mullin has a primary challenger and we have a Democratic primary as well.
  • US House District 3: Frank Lucas has two primary challengers.
  • US House District 4: My home district. Tom Cole has a republican challenger and Democratic rivals in a primary.
  • US House District 5: James Lankford left his seat to seek the US Senate. This has attracted a wide slate of candidates.
  • State Superintendent: Janet Barresi doesn’t seem to have made any friends. She has several primary challengers as well as a Democratic primary.

I haven’t seen any State House or Senate seats that really peak my interest, but if I find any, I will surely talk about them.

The State Of Elections In Oklahoma

April 12, 2014 Posted by E. Zachary Knight

The filing period for candidacy in Oklahoma ended on April 11 this year. I decided to take a look at just what type of November ballot we will have in Oklahoma this year. What I am going to do is go through each office and list the numbers of elected officials who will be “elected” at which stage of the process. For these purposes we have three stages:

  1. Uncontested – These are those who will take office simply because they filed for candidacy and no one else did. These are uncontested seats.
  2. Primary – These are those whose only challengers are within the same party. This means they will have won their seat after primary votes are cast.
  3. November – These are those who have a challenger outside their party and will be decided in November.

For statewide or federal races, I will actually list each office and when it will be decided. For state house and senate seats, I will simply list the abbreviated total results. You can see a list of all those who filed for candidacy at the State Election Board. Let’s get busy:

US Senate

  • Full Term: November, 5 Republican, 1 Democrat and 3 Independent.
  • Partial Term: November, 7 Republican, 3 Democrat, 1 Independent.

US Representative

  • District 1: Unchallenged, Jim Bridenstine (Republican)
  • District 2: November. 2 Republicans, 2 Democrats and 1 Independent
  • District 3: November. 3 Republicans, 1 Democrats
  • District 4: November. 2 Republicans, 2 Democrats and 1 Independent
  • District 5: November. 6 Republican, 3 Democrat and 3 Independents

Governor

  • November, 3 Republican, 1 Democrat and 3 Independents

Lt. Governor

  • November, 1 Republican, 1 Democrat

State Senate

The following is a list of all uncontested districts:

Districts Going to Republicans: 2, 10, 24, 30, 34, 36, 38

Districts Going to Democrats: 16

The following are all districts that will be decided in the primaries:

Districts going to Republicans: 12, 20, 22

Districts going to Democrats: 46

The following are all districts that will be on the November ballot. I have noted if there is an Independent on the ballot (I):

Districts: 4, 5, 6, 8, 14, 18, 26, 28, 32, 40, 42(I), 44(I)

Based on the current make up of the Senate and who has filed for election I predict that the make up of the Senate will be as follows: 37 Republicans and 11 Democrats. Even if Democrats won every single November election, they would still be in the Minority in the Senate.

State House

The following are all uncontested Republican districts. 35 in all:

Districts: 2, 5, 9, 11, 21, 22, 23, 25, 30, 33, 37, 39, 42, 47, 48, 50, 51, 52, 55, 57, 58, 59, 60, 64, 66, 67, 68, 70, 71, 74, 75, 80, 81, 84, 90

The following are all uncontested Democratic districts. 15 in all:

Districts: 4, 8, 13, 15, 18, 19, 24, 34, 44, 72, 73, 77, 78, 92, 94

The following are all districts decided in the Republican primary. 11 in all:

Districts: 27, 31, 38, 41, 53, 54, 61, 69, 79, 98, 101

The following are all districts decided in the Democratic primary. 3 in all:

District: 7, 88, 89

The following are all districts that will have a November election. 37 in all. I have noted if there is an Independent on the ballot (I). In the races with an Independent, there are no democrats running:

Districts: 1, 3, 6, 10, 12, 14, 16, 17, 20, 26, 28, 29, 32, 35, 36, 40, 43, 45, 46(I), 49, 56, 62, 63, 65, 76, 82(I), 83, 85, 86, 87, 91, 93, 95, 96, 97, 99, 100

Based on the current make up of the House and who has filed for election I predict that the make up of the House will be as follows: 71 Republicans and 30 Democrats. They could regain the majority in the House if they won every single November election in which they have a presence, but that is a highly unlikely scenario.

Conclusion

Based on these numbers, it seems that when it comes to State politics, the vast majority of Oklahomans are not all that politically active. Just based on the State House numbers, Republicans are guaranteed a 46% presence in the House with the possibility of snagging another 37%. This means that Oklahoma will continue to have a Republican controlled House. It is not too surprising to see Democrats in the minority in all races this year. They will have only a guaranteed 18% presence in the House. They may capture some of the 37% up for grabs in November, but I doubt it will be enough to counter the guaranteed presence by the Republicans.

The 2012 election continued the Republican majority in the Senate. This election looks to keep that majority for another 2 years at least. With 10 of the 25 seats going directly to Republicans with most likely a majority of the November elections going to Republicans, it will be difficult to out the Republican majority in 2014. Essentially, all the 24 seats in 2016 would have to go to non-Republican candidates in order to break their majority hold. Unfortunately, if the last few elections are any indication, that will be near impossible as most seats are either decided at filing or in the primaries.

Of all races this year, we have 9 Independents running for US Senate or Congress. We have 3 Independents seeking the governor seat. Finally we have a mere 5 running for the State Legislature. This is 2 better than the last 2 elections, but far from making a statement to the Legislature.  The state of Independents in this election is most likely a symptom of Oklahoma’s harsh ballot access laws. Since Oklahoma makes it prohibitively difficult to form new parties, many Independents are probably jaded toward the election process. This jaded attitude probably also explains why it has been so difficult to pass ballot access reform as well.

In the end, one thing is for sure, Republicans will continue to control the state government in all branches. We will continue to see a push furthering the Republican agenda. Some of it will be good. Some of it will be bad. But unless we can get a more politically active populace that is willing to challenge the status quo, we will not see real change in this state for at least another 2 years.

Welcome To My Coverage Of The 2014 Oklahoma Elections

April 9, 2014 Posted by E. Zachary Knight

Since 2010, I have been actively blogging about the elections in Oklahoma. I find them to be very interesting for a variety of reasons. Among them is Oklahoma’s harsh ballot access laws, closed primaries and the disproportionate control the Republican Party has on government.

This week is the time in which candidates for a variety of offices will be filing the necessary paperwork to run for elections. This year we have all statewide offices, including the Governor and Lt. Governor, all five Congressional seats and for a rare treat both US Senate seats. We also have elections for all 101 State House seats and 25 of 48 State Senate seats.

I am most interested in the state legislature and the races there. That is where most of the difference is made in Oklahoma. In previous years we have had very weak competition for incumbents. In 2012, around 36% of the legislative seats up for grabs made it to the November ballot. The rest were either uncontested or settled in one of Oklahoma’s closed partisan primary elections. I am hoping for a far better showing on the November ballot this year.

Primarily, I hope for a better turnout from Independents. We have had a very weak Independent candidate base with the last 2 elections having only 3 Independents seeking state legislative seats. I hope to see far more than that this year.

This weekend, I will publish an article which will list what the coming elections will look like. I look forward to seeing who will be running for office this year.

Who Will Be On The Coming November Ballot

September 21, 2012 Posted by E. Zachary Knight

This is a Presidential election year. This means that roughly 1.5 times as many people who voted in 2010 will vote this year. For some reason, people seem to think that voting in Presidential years is far more important than voting in State elections. Personally, I think it is the other way around, but that is me. That said, this is who and what we will be seeing on the ballot this November.

I had previously written about the primaries and had wanted to cover this earlier, but had put it off. Since all challenges and run-offs are over, now seems as good a time as any. If you are curious on how the run-offs ended, you can view the results (PDF).

The three sections that will bring out all Oklahoma voters (at least those that care to show up) are the Presidential Elections, elections for each US Congressman and the State Questions. So here is what voters will see:

For President

  • Republican Candidate Mitt Romney
  • Democratic Incumbent Barack Obama

While there were efforts to get third party options on the ballot, all those attempts failed. This will be the third presidential election in a row in which Oklahoma will be the only state in the nation limited to two choices.

State Questions

There are six state questions on the ballot this year. These are opportunities for Oklahomans to express their support or opposition to certain changes in law or amendments to the State’s Constitution. I will be going more in depth on these in the coming weeks.

  • SQ 758 Ad Valorem Taxation Limitation on Valuation Increases
  • SQ 759 Prohibits certain preferential treatment or discrimination
  • SQ 762 Modifies the power and authority of the Governor and Pardon and Parole Board in the parole process for nonviolent offenders
  • SQ 764 Creates the Water Infrastructure Credit Enhancement Reserve Fund; allows the OWRB to issue bonds
  • SQ 765 Repeals sections of the Constitution relating to the Department of Public Welfare, its commission and director; grants the Legislature the authority to create and direct the administration of a department to provide for public welfare
  • SQ 766 Exempts all intangible personal property from ad valorem taxation

US House of Representatives

Oklahoma has five US House districts. Each District is at least three-way race between a Republican, Democrat and Independent. One District has two Independents running.

House District 1 saw Incumbent John Sullivan lose in the Republican Primary. The Race is now between the following three contenders

  • Republican Jim Bridenstine
  • Democrat John Olson
  • Independent Craig Allen

House District 2 saw Democratic Incumbent Dan Boren retire. His seat was heavily fought for in the primaries with both the Republican and Democratic races going into a run-off. The race ended with these three.

  • Republican Markwayne Mullin
  • Democrat Rob Wallace
  • Independent Michael G. Fulks

House District 3 has a three-way race as follows.

  • Incumbent Republican Frank D. Lucas
  • Democrat Timothy Ray Murray
  • Independent William M. Sanders

House District 4 has a three-way race as follows.

  • Incumbent Republican Tom Cole
  • Democrat Donna Marie Bebo
  • Independent RJ Harris

House District 5 has a four-way race between the following.

  • Incumbent Republican James Lankford
  • Democrat Tom Guild
  • Independent Pat Martin
  • Independent Robert T. Murphy

Those are the US House races. And those three sections make up the largest draw in the coming election. The rest of the races are for State House, Senate and Judges. There will also be some county races as well.

State Senate

I have just a few comments to make on these races. I will defer to this PDF of who will be on the ballot as a reference. I don’t want to repeat too much of that information there.

On the State Senate side, there are a total of 12 districts holding elections this November. Oklahoma has a total of 48 districts with half of them coming up for election every 2 years. So this year, one quarter of the Senate seats were either unchallenged or decided in the primaries. The other quarter will come up for a vote in November.

The State Senate races are also home to the only Independent candidates running for state office. These candidates are running in districts 11, 27, and 41. It is not really a surprise to see so few Independents running as Oklahoma has a vast history of marginalizing and disenfranchising this portion of the populace.

State House

On the State House side, we have 34 districts coming up for a vote, or one third the total of house seats. The other 66 districts were either unchallenged or decided in the Primaries. A good majority of those seats went to Republicans. There are no Independents running for State House.

So that’s it. As more information comes to light over the next few weeks, I will comment more in depth. The Federal elections and the State elections with Independents are the most interesting for me, outside my own State Senate and State House district races of course.

Third Presidential Election In A Row With Two Choices; A Horrible Injustice

September 21, 2012 Posted by E. Zachary Knight

This is the latest letter I have sent to the Daily Oklahoman regarding ballot access in Oklahoma. I like to post both my original unedited letter and a link and quote of how the newspaper edited it. They don’t usually do a hack job, so I don’t generally worry.

In response to the article “Third party won’t be on Oklahoma’s November ballot” (September 14, 2012), this is a horrible injustice to the people of this fine state. For the 3rd presidential election in a row, Oklahoma will be the only state in the nation limited to two choices for President. The only state in the nation to deny its voters the right to cast their vote for the person the voter believes to be the best qualified for the role of president.

When will the people of this state stand up to the two party tyranny of the dominate parties? For over ten years, supporters of ballot access reform have been met with strong opposition in the Legislature and all efforts have been blocked. The most recent efforts were killed by the Republican controlled Senate. This blockage by the Republican party is mirrored in many other states as the Republican party challenges the inclusion of alternative candidates on the presidential ballot.

Oklahoma has some of the worst laws in the nation in regards to ballot access. This election and the two previous presidential elections are proof of that. We live in a Constitutional Republic, one in which the people choose who will represent them. In Oklahoma, we no longer have control over that process because the Legislature and the two major parties have usurped that right from the people.

Here is the letter published on September 21, 2012. The reason I post the edited letter is that the Daily Oklahoman stops allowing access to old articles and op-eds after a while and I like to have the full text preserved.

Regarding “Third party won’t be on state ballots” (News, Sept. 14): For the third presidential election in a row, Oklahoma will be the only state in the nation limited to two choices for president, the only state to deny its voters the right to cast their vote for the person the voter believes to be the best qualified for the role of president. When will Oklahomans stand up to the two-party tyranny of the dominant parties?

For over 10 years, supporters of ballot access reform have been met with strong opposition in the Legislature; all efforts have been blocked. The most recent efforts were killed by the Republican-controlled Senate. This blockage by the Republican Party is mirrored in many other states as the Republican Party challenges the inclusion of alternative candidates on the presidential ballot. Oklahoma has some of the worst laws in the nation regarding ballot access. This election and the two previous presidential elections are proof of that.

We live in a constitutional republic, one in which the people choose who will represent them. In Oklahoma, we no longer have control over that process because the Legislature and the two major parties have usurped that right from the people. This is a horrible injustice.

E. Zachary Knight, Newcastle

Again, not a bad edit.

I have begun a movement to protest Oklahoma’s ballot access laws. The way this is done is to skip the Presidential line of the ballot and then protest at the capital. You can find out more on Facebook.

What Would Happen If All Registered Independents Voted That Way In Oklahoma?

September 19, 2012 Posted by E. Zachary Knight

Voter Registration trends in OklahomaA few days ago, I came across this line graph showing voter registration trends in Oklahoma. This graph shows a trend of disenfranchisement in the Democratic Party, growth within the Republican Party, a near flat lining of Independent voters over the course of about 16 years. This got me thinking about elections in Oklahoma and how these numbers correlate to actual voter turnout. It also had me thinking of just how much power the independent voter has in the Oklahoma election.

As you can see from this graph, Independent voters equal to about 11% of the potential voting pool. Democrats represent 47%. Republicans represent 41%. But actual election results paint a far different picture. One in which election results do not match voter registration at all.

I am going to look at the last 3 Presidential elections. In each of these elections, the Republican candidate won in Oklahoma despite being outnumbered by Democrats alone. Yet, in each of these elections, the voter turnout was far lower than the total registration numbers.  So let’s start in 2000.

2000 Presidential Election

The 2000 Presidential election is the only one of the three we will be visiting here that was not limited to 2 choices. This election actually had four candidates that Oklahoma voters could choose from. However, the results from this election did not deviate much from the trends shown when viewing the last 3. Here are the results:

  • George W. Bush (Rep) – 744,337 votes
  • Al Gore (Dem) – 474,276 votes
  • Patrick Buchanan (Ref) – 9,014 votes
  • Harry Browne (Lib)- 6,602 votes
  • Total Votes Cast – 1,234,229

Now, let’s look at the voter registration numbers as of January 2000:

  • Democratic Party – 1,189,332
  • Republican Party – 734,382
  • Independent – 174,649
  • Libertarian Party – 267
  • Reform Party – 120
  • Total Registration – 2,098,750

As you can see from the numbers, there is an almost complete lack of any correlation between registration and voter turn out. The only numbers that make any bit of sense is that of the Republican Party and the two minor parties on the ballot. However, It is quite likely that not all those who registered as Republican voted at all. So much of those votes cast could have come from registered Democrats and Independents. What we can see clearly is that only 58.8% of those registered actually voted.

2004 Presidential Election

The 2004 Presidential election returns us to a cycle in which Oklahoma voters were limited to two choices for President. However, even with this significant change, the election results were not too indifferent from that of 2000. Here are the results:

  • George W. Bush (Rep) – 959,792 votes
  • John Kerry (Dem) – 503,966 votes
  • Total Votes Cast – 1,463,758

Now, let’s look at the voter registration numbers as of January 2004:

  • Democratic Party – 1,022,442
  • Republican Party – 720,121
  • Independent – 195,334
  • Libertarian Party – 455
  • Reform Party – 25
  • Total Registration – 1,938,377

Surprisingly, we see far fewer registrations that year than we did 4 years prior. We can also see that the total number of voters jumped from 58.8% in 2000 to 75.5%. The loss of 160,373 voters over the course of 4 years does not correlate here either. It seems that there was a generally greater interest in the Presidential election that year.

2008 Presidential Election

The 2008 election continues the cycle of only 2 choices for President. However, this is the first of the 3 elections in which the candidate chosen by Oklahoman voters did not win the General Election. Here are the Results:

  •  John McCain (Rep) – 960,165 votes
  • Barack Obama (Dem) – 502,496 votes
  • Total Votes Cast – 1,462,661

Now, let’s look at the voter registration numbers as of January 2008:

  •  Democratic Party – 1,012,594
  • Republican Party – 790,713
  • Independent – 219,230
  • Total Registration – 2,022,537

You will note that from the previous election, there was very little change in voter turn out. We also see that the Reform and Libertarian Parties were officially dropped from party status. Voters registered under those parties were reassigned to Independent. This time we see a 72.3% turn out rate, meaning the increase in registered voters did not correlate with voter turn out.

2012 Presidential Election

As we move into the 2012 election season, Oklahomans will be treated with not 2 but 3 Presidential options. If all goes as planned, the Americans Elect Party will have Gary Johnson as its candidate on the Oklahoma ballot. In anticipation of this election, we will use current voter registration numbers and the data from previous elections to hopefully predict what the turn out and results might be.

2012 Registration Numbers

Here are the voter registration numbers as of January 2012:

  • Democratic Party – 943,283
  • Republican Party – 828,257
  • Independent – 229,070
  • Total Registration – 2,000,610

As you can see, we have seen a slight drop from 4 years prior in total number of registered voters. You can also see some considerable change in the numbers of registered Democrats and Republicans. Democrats continue to lose members and Republicans continue to gain. Keep in mind that these numbers reflect voter registrations in January. Since then, the Americans Elect Party has gained official state recognition and there has been some change. According to recent reports the numbers are as follows:

  • Democratic Party – 942,388
  • Republican Party – 850,560
  • Americans Elect Party – 5
  • Independent – 234,141

Even this does not paint a full picture as there are technically more than 5 members of the Americans Elect Party at this time. However, it is still reflective of major trends in the election. As you can see from these numbers, in just a few months, the Republican Party gained 22,000 members. This is probably due to high demand in Oklahoma to unseat Obama.

2012 Presidential Election Predictions

So what does this meant for the coming election? What will we see as the turn out? For this we will look at the previous elections and see where trends lie. If we just look at the last two elections we can expect a roughly 73-75% voter turn out in which the Republican candidate will win by a ratio of nearly 2:1. With a third candidate on the ballot, if previous trends are to be followed, I don’t see that win ratio changing much. Looking back at the 2000 election, the ratio was closer to 1.5:1 when combining Democratic, Libertarian and Reform votes.

So my question at this time is, what would happen to the election if all registered Independents voted that way? What would happen if all registered Independents voted for Gary Johnson? First, Johnson would not win Oklahoma on the Independent vote alone. However, it could shake things up. I am going to make some assumptions on the minds of voters here. Let’s say that voter turnout will be 75% following the current trends. We will spread that evenly among all party registrations. Meaning 75% of registered voters in each party and Independents vote in the election. So this is the hypothetical voter turnout, based on the second set of registration numbers (adding 5 more Americans Elect members to accommodate more recent changes):

  • Democratic Party – 706,791
  • Republican Party – 637,920
  • Americans Elect Party – 7
  • Independent – 175,605
  • Total Votes Cast – 1,520,323

Since Republicans have won the last 3 Presidential elections in Oklahoma, It is clear that a number of Independent and Democratic voters crossed party lines to vote for the Republican candidate. Which means that somewhere along the lines of 137,000 or more Democrats vote Republican and nearly all Independent voters vote Republican.

If we base predictions on the 2000 election, we could see a minority of votes going to Gary Johnson. Since that election saw a much lower voter turn out than the last two, it doesn’t follow those trends. But it can be something we can learn by. In that election, 15,616 voters voted for the Reform and Libertarian candidates combined. That is roughly 1.3% of the total votes cast. If we adjust that up while keeping a grounded view, we could say that in today’s election climate 3.3% would vote for Gary Johnson. We would see this spread:

  • Republican Candidate – 999,639
  • Barack Obama – 500,920
  • Gary Johnson – 19,764

This brings us back to that near 2:1 win ratio for the Republican Candidate. Back to the same ole, same ole. In this case, the Americans Elect Party will not receive enough votes to retain party qualification in the state and third parties will be back where they were before. Nothing will have changed, Oklahoma will still have no real effect on the national election.

However, if all Independent and Americans Elect Party Members vote for Gary Johnson we have the following spread:

  • Republican Candidate – 843,791
  • Barack Obama – 500,920
  • Gary Johnson – 175,612

In this situation, The Republican candidate will still win Oklahoma. However, Gary Johnson would have helped the Americans Elect Party to retain official party status in Oklahoma, having received 11.5% of the vote. This would be a major victory for a third party in Oklahoma on its own. Very few parties have been able to remain ballot qualified since the ballot access process was changed in 1974.

Of course the absolute best case scenario would be for Gary Johnson to win Oklahoma. This would take some effort in getting disenfranchised Democrats and Republicans to vote for him. If those 137,000 Democrats and a similar percentage of Republicans, about 21.5% or 151,960 voters, (View the Primary results for the potential number of disenfranchised Republicans) voted for Johnson we could see a much closer race.

  • Republican Candidate – 554,831
  • Barack Obama – 500,920
  • Gary Johnson – 464,572

Even in this scenario, the Republican candidate would still win, but by a much narrower margin. For Gary Johnson to win completely, he would need to pull far more votes from both the Republican Candidate and Obama. At this time, I find this scenario to be the least likely, but still a good thing to hope for.

Conclusion

So this is my suggestion to all registered Independents and disenfranchised Republicans and Democrats in Oklahoma. If you are going to vote, vote for Gary Johnson. Don’t listen to the naysayers who claim you are “voting for Obama.” Oklahoma probably still won’t go to Obama at all. Oklahoma hasn’t gone to a Democrat in many many years. However, voting for Gary Johnson will spark a huge change in Oklahoma election history in which a 3rd party becomes a viable option and a force for change on a state level. That is one of the best things that could happen. If by some chance, a significant portion of Republicans and Democrats decide to join in on the vote for Gary Johnson and he wins the state, even better for Oklahoma.

So again, don’t vote against your fears, vote your conscience. Vote Gary Johnson for President. That is the only way to truly win.

Primary Election Results: Winners And Runoffs

September 19, 2012 Posted by E. Zachary Knight

Well, the day is done and the votes are in, but Oklahoma’s Primary Elections are not done. While I have the unofficial results, the official results will not be in until (I presume) the provisional ballots have been reviewed and all that gets sent back up the state. [Update: Final results with provisional ballots counted will be available this weekend after 5pm on Friday. Results will be certified by the state on July 3rd pending no challenges or recounts.] However, there seems to be enough information to make a few statements about the races. It would also be helpful to reference the official candidate list held by the State Election Board. [Updated references to when the Runoff Primary will be held. State Election Board states that it will be held August 28th not in July]

To start off, in the only statewide seat voted on yesterday, we have the winner of the full term seat for Corporation Commissioner, Bob Anthony. Since only Republicans filed for this seat, it is a done deal.

On the US Representative side, here are the results:

  • District 1: Incumbent John Sullivan was ousted by challenger Jim Bridenstine 53.83% to 46.17%. Bridenstine will got to the voters in November against Democrat John Olson and Independent Craig Allen.
  • District 2: The Republican race will go to a Primary Runoff election in August between Markwayne Mullin and George Faught. The Democratic race will go to a Primary Runoff between Rob Wallace and Wayne Herriman. The winners of those runoffs will go to November against Independent Michael G. Fulks.
  • District 3: Incumbent Republican Frank Lucas took this election in a landslide victory. He will face off against Democratic Primary winner Timothy Ray Murray and Independent William M. Sanders.
  • District 4: Incumbent Republican Tom Cole won a landslide victory as well.  He will face the November election against Democratic Primary winner Donna Marie Bebo and Independent RJ Harris.
  • District 5: Had no Primary Elections this year. The November ticket will consist of Incumbent Republican James Lankford, Democrat Tom Guild and Independents Pat Martin and Robert T. Murphy.

On the State Senate side of the Primaries, there were 12 total, 9 Republican and 3 Democratic. Of these 12, Republican Primaries 15, 17, 33 and 43 will go to a Runoff. Depending on how any provisional ballots and challenges go this may change, but Republican Primary 3 had Wayne Shaw beating Cyndi McArtor by only 31 votes. Very close.

On the State House side of the Primaries, there were 33 total, 25 Republican and 8 Democratic. Of these 33, Republican Primaries 53 and 70 will go to a Runoff. Democratic Primaries 14 and 88 will also go to a Runoff.

There were also various local and county primaries happening in the  state. However, the state does not report on those numbers. So I will leave that to you to look for if you are interested.

As a final note, we have a total of 10 primary elections going into Runoff. This means that the state will have to expend resources to pay for them. All these runoffs could be made moot if the State would make any or all of the following changes:

  • Change to an Instant Runoff Election in which voters ranked their choices and we eliminate the last person until we have a clear majority winner.
  • Open the primaries to Independent voters and voters from other parties. As Oklahoma law currently stands, the Parties can choose to allow Independent voters, but have never done so. 21 State Senate and House elections and many local and county elections were decided in this Primary. So a lot of voters did not get the chance to vote for their representative.
  • Privatize the primaries. Let the political parties manage and pay for the nominations of their own candidates. If they want them closed and want runoffs, let them pay for it. There is no reason for the state to be taking on the burden.

So there you have it. That is what the outlook will be for the November election. For a little more information on which districts will have a November Election, please reference my previous post on candidate filings.

Primary Day: Independents Not Allowed

September 19, 2012 Posted by E. Zachary Knight

Today was Oklahoma’s state primary election. Since Independents are the political equivalent of lepers in Oklahoma, they were not allowed to participate in any of the elections happening around the state. (at least no elections I am aware of) Still, I did my duty to stop by and ask if I was allowed to vote. The nice ladies manning the polling booths politely told me no.

I did take some snapshots of the sample ballots for the Republican and Democratic primaries in my voting district. Here they are:

Democratic Primary Ballot

Democratic Primary Ballot

First up we have the Democratic Primary ballot. Not a lot happening here. First on the list is the Democratic Challengers for the US Representative 4 seat. Donna Marie Bebo and Bert Smith. I met the two of them and I must say that I hope Bebo gets the nomination. She was anti-SOPA and anti-ACTA. Smith was anti-SOPA but for some strange reason pro-ACTA. Not sure how that works.

The next two elections I am not too concerned about. I will say that Rodney Johnson was enthusiastic about Ballot Access Reform but never got in touch with me to follow up with some questions. I guess I wouldn’t mind seeing him in November. On the Court Clerk side, this election will be decided here. Not sure why this is partisan at all. For that matter I have no clue why that is an elected position. I do hope that Berry wins just because Baker is the incumbent. No other reason.

Republican Primary Ballot

Republican Primary Ballot

Next up is the Republican Primary Ballot. There is not much more happening here. First up is the Corporation Commissioner. This one is decided with this primary election. Both are Republicans and are probably equally so. I really don’t care who wins.

Then we have the US Representative 4 seat. We have incumbent Tom Cole vs Gary Caissie. I am not particularly fond of Cole. He is a bit of a mixed bag. Even though I am voting for RJ Harris in November, I would like to see Cole unseated here.

Then we have the State Senate and House races. These seats are brand new seats after redistricting, so no incumbents. Whoever wins these seats will be running against a Democratic opponent come November.

From the Senate side, I absolutely despise Brooks. The guy is a die-hard Republican and unwilling to compromise on anything. He was pretty solidly against the idea of Ballot Access Reform. I seriously hope he does not win. I would like to See Ron Magar win this primary and go to the elections in November.

On the House side, Alon Morrison and Paul Maus both made good impressions on me. Morrison for his quick and decisive support for Ballot Access Reform and Maus for his overall willingness to be open to new ideas and compromise. I would love to see either of them in November.

So that is it. I will be checking on these primary elections as the night rolls through. You can follow my updates on Twitter.

Letter To NewsOK Regarding Ballot Access In OKlahoma Compared To Egypt

September 19, 2012 Posted by E. Zachary Knight

Every once and a while, I send a letter to the editor of the Daily Oklahoman (or rather NewsOK.com). I think I have only ever had one turned down since it was too close to the last one I sent in. But I am always interested in seeing what edits they make before publishing the letter. Back in May, I wrote one about the state of ballot access in Oklahoma compared to Egypt. Here is the letter I sent to NewsOK:

During the week of May 21-25, Egyptians will get the long desired and much fought for opportunity to elect a new president for their nation. They paid for this opportunity with their blood. We as Americans and specifically Oklahomans cheered them on through their trials and protests to gain that right. As a result of their efforts, their blood, they will have the opportunity to choose a new President from a slate of thirteen candidates. Thirteen! How wonderful it must feel for these people to choose a president from such a wide array of view points representing the wide variety of people in their nation.

While we applaud them on in this wonderful demonstration of democracy in action, Oklahoma’s Senate is once again sitting on an opportunity to bring similar democracy to Oklahoma. For many years, the Oklahoma Legislature has been presented with bills that would have brought Egyptian level democracy to this state. Yet, every time it has been brought to a vote, someone stands in its way. This year, this has happened again.

This November, when Oklahomans take to the polls to elect the President, they will be presented with a ballot containing a grand total of two candidates for President. Two! What a contrast. Why should Egyptians be cheered on as they vote from thirteen candidates while we stand complacent voting from two? Why are we complacent in the illusion of democracy in this fine state?

This is the letter that was actually published:

Egyptians recently got the long-desired and much fought for opportunity to elect a new president for their nation. They paid for this opportunity with their blood. We Americans and specifically Oklahomans cheered them on through their trials and protests to gain that right. As a result of their efforts and their blood, they’ll have the opportunity to choose a new president from a slate of 13 candidates. Thirteen! How wonderful it must feel for these people to choose a president from such a wide array of viewpoints representing the wide variety of people in their nation.

While we applaud them on in this wonderful demonstration of democracy in action, Oklahoma is once again sitting on an opportunity to bring similar democracy to Oklahoma. For many years, the Legislature has been presented with bills that would have brought Egyptian-level democracy to this state. Yet every time it’s been brought to a vote, someone stands in its way. It happened again this year.

This November, when Oklahomans take to the polls to elect the president, they’ll be presented with a ballot containing a grand total of two candidates for president. Two! What a contrast. Why should Egyptians be cheered on as they vote from 13 candidates while we stand complacent voting from two? Why are we complacent in the illusion of democracy in this fine state?

Not really a bad edit job. I hope to write more to them and I need to write more here and on the other sites I run. Getting out of practice.

 

All Elections Shall Be Free And Equal, But Only If You Are A Democrat Or Republican

September 19, 2012 Posted by E. Zachary Knight

Great Seal of The State of Oklahoma - 1907

All elections shall be free and equal.” – Oklahoma Constitution, Section III-5

There was a time once, when I thought that phrase meant something. Back when I was going to school learning about the political process in Civics class. You know, when you sit in learn about the American Revolution and what those Founding Fathers committed treason to obtain. They risked their lives and the lives of their families in order to bring about a system of government in which the people of the 13 Colonies could choose the people that represented their interests.

Can you imagine the pure determination and fear that must have run through the hearts and veins of those men as they each signed onto the Declaration of Independence? By signing that letter, they were putting themselves onto the top of England’s most wanted list. A list that was titled ‘Wanted, Dead or Alive.” These men then fought in a war to solidify their determination, their love of liberty, their desire to be ruled by the people for the people. Many people died in support of these treasonous heroes.

What would these men have to say if they were to have witnessed the actions of the Oklahoma government? What would they have said had they been in the room in 1974 when the Oklahoma Legislature wrote into law the Democratic and Republican parties? What would these men have said had they been in the room as those same people who were elected to represent the people of Oklahoma changed what was once a reasonable and fair law regarding the formation of new parties into the bastardization of the idea of fair representation we have now? What would these men have said as they witnessed the Oklahoma Legislature trample, ridicule and ignore the plight of Independent voters in this state? Perhaps they would have said something along these lines:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

That is certainly what they said when the English government repeatedly refused to acknowledge and listen to the pleas and petitions of the American people. Would they have said the same thing as they witnessed Oklahoma’s government do the same to the people of Oklahoma? I certainly think so. At the time, the English Government wasn’t a harsh ruler doling out punishments at will. No, it was simply an apathetic government which ignored the American Colonies in order to focus on building up the English Empire.

What we have right now in Oklahoma is an apathetic government. One that ignores the plight of the Oklahoma people in order to maintain and build up the empire of the two major parties, the Republican and Democratic parties. Let’s pause and think about the poetics of those two names. Both names are derived from the same roots of two words used to describe our system of government. A Democratic government is one in which all the people ruled under it have an equal voice in the affairs of the state. A Republic government is one in which the people elect representatives who represent the ideals of those who elect them. Both systems of government are built around the idea of equal representation. The Democratic government in which every voice is equal; the Republic government in which every person has an equal opportunity to elect a representative.

Think about that as you witness these two political parties usurp the will of the people. Think of that as you watch these two parties continually deny the people an equal voice in the affairs of this state. These two parties have become destructive to the unalienable rights of the people of this state. These two parties have decided that not everyone is created equal. These two parties have decided that they no longer derive their power by the will of the people. It is time we stopped them. It is time that we as a people, united, declared our independence from the rule of tyrants. It is time that we as a people, united, declared that we will no longer be satisfied for second class status.

I am tired of waiting for the Oklahoma Government to decide that it wants to give me back my right to be represented in our government. I am tired of sitting back and waiting for these two parties to decide to invite Independents out of the goodness of their hearts to participate in this Republic. It is time to declare our independence.

We have a system in this state in which the people can propose laws and the people can vote to enact them. This system was designed for times in which the people felt that the government could no longer be relied upon to do its duty. There are over 200,000 registered Independents in this state. We only need a bit over 100,000 signatures to declare a state question in which we can revert our election laws back to what can truly be called “free and equal”. We have the infrastructure to do this. It can be done.

What we need to do is put together an initiative petition to strike out the language that wrote the Republican and Democratic parties into law. We need to then revert the petition requirement to the original 5,000 that was required prior to 1974. Two very simple changes that will bring about a mountain of change in this state. That is my declaration of independence.