Category: ‘Politics and Law’

The First Amendment And The Right To Deface The US Flag

May 18, 2015 Posted by zachary

This is the American Flag. It is the symbol of  the United States of America. It is also just a piece of cloth. Just as those who support the government can wave it as a symbol of their love, those who are upset with the government can treat it as an effigy of that same government. If you are not allowed to criticize the government through the defacing of this flag, then we no longer live in a society that believes in the freedom of expression.A short while ago, I posted this image on Facebook that stated that people have the right to deface and burn the American Flag. I stand by that statement. Why? Because it is true. For that, I have been called an idiot, a traitor and a terrorist. They say this because I associated the flag with the government and not the nation. Why did I choose that phrasing? Because the true symbol of this nation is not the flag but the Constitution. The Constitution is the very document that created this country, the very document that our forefathers died to allow us to create this nation.

These people who called me an idiot, traitor and terrorist are upset that people displeased with the government would burn, deface or tread upon the American flag, yet they have nothing to say about the people elected to office, who swore with an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, who tread upon and burn the Constitution.

Our country is dying because we sit idly by and allow the true liars and traitors to sit in office and destroy our constitutionally protected rights, not constitutionally granted rights, protected rights. Our Congress and Presidents over the years have stripped the Constitution of its original meaning by trampling our 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 8th, 14th and many other protected rights. Yet because those elected officials wave that American Flag and shout patriotism from the capitol steps, a majority of people in this nation turn a blind eye to their traitorous acts.

Yet, I am the liar, idiot, traitor and terrorist because I speak out against this and support others who do as well.

Rally to your flag if you wish. That is your right. But for me, I will rally to my Constitution.

In Which I Respond To Comments To My Letter To The Editor

November 17, 2014 Posted by zachary

Over the weekend, I had a letter to the editor published to both NewsOK and at the Tulsa World. Both sites, published the letter with little modifications. The letter itself is mostly a rehash of my earlier article about Oklahoma’s low voter turnout and its impact on future petitions. It also called for real reform to pass.

However, there was one problem. I wanted to respond to a comment on the Tulsa World which I felt poorly reflected on the current petitioning climate. Tulsa World reader J. Lee wrote:

It appears that many people don’t really care what happens. But that is absolutely no reason to lower the party petitioning burden especially to what it was 40-50 years ago since the population has increased over a million since that time.

Any entity which lowers it standards to appease a few will eventually be left with no standards.

What J. Lee wrote here does a real disservice to those seeking to form a new party in Oklahoma. It is based on the false premise that Oklahoma’s petitioning laws and the change in 1974 was based on some actual reasoning based on population. That is not true at all.

The problem with this is that the Tulsa World’s commenting policy prevents me from responding to this comment directly. The Tulsa World wants me to pay nearly $200 just to comment on articles of interest. That is not happening. So instead, I am responding here in the hopes that interested people will read it and misinformation will be cleared away. If anyone out there has a subscription or still has commenting enabled because they have not reached their monthly ration of articles, feel free to respond to J. Lee with the following:

Let me lay out a few facts for you. I hope that I won’t have to explain any of this too much.

Population of Oklahoma:
1970 – 2,559,063
2010 – 3,751,351
Percent Changed – 46.6%

Voting Population of Oklahoma:
1972 Presidential Election (last election before new rules went into effect) – 1,057,396
2012 Presidential Election (most recent similar election) – 1,334,872
Percent Changed – 26.2%

1974 party petitioning requirement – 5,000 signatures or 0.47% of the 1972 vote
2014 party petitioning requirement – 66,744 or 5% of the vote cast in 2012
Percent Changed – 1,235%

If we wanted to adjust the number of signatures needed to form a new party based on population, then we would have this amount:
5,000 plus a 46.6% change = 7,330 signatures today.

However, if we base it off of voting population, we would get this number:
5,000 plus a 26.2% change = 6,310

Both of those calculations are far far smaller than the current signature requirement that is 1235% higher than it was in 1972.

So do you want to rethink your position?

Again, I would love to respond myself. When I aired my issues with the Tulsa World on Twitter, their only response was to upsell me on a subscription. They offered no real solution. I guess, if anyone wants a real conversation on a news site, they will have to go with NewsOK where all you need is a free account to read everything and comment to all articles.

My Latest Letter To The Editor Is Published In The Tulsa World

June 6, 2014 Posted by zachary

My latest letter to the editor points out that the legislature once again failed to pass ballot access reform. This one was published by the Tulsa World. I sent the same letter to the Daily Oklahoman.

Another session of the Legislature has ended and Oklahoma is still number one in having the worst ballot access laws in the nation.

Oklahoma has the harshest laws regulating who can form a new political party or who can be on the presidential ballot. All other states have an easier process for both of those actions.

This year, the Legislature considered House Bill 2134, which would have greatly eased both of those processes, but once again was quietly killed it. The bill would have reduced the number of signatures needed to form a new political party by half. It later was changed to reducing the independent presidential petition requirement by half. The bill went to a conference committee where it languished and died. This is the same sort of committee that has quietly killed every ballot access bill in the last six years.

Oklahoma is in sore need of new political ideologies and new leadership outside the current parties. But we will get neither if we keep electing the same people who block efforts to allow those ideologies and leaders access to the political process. We need to reform our laws, but more important, we need to vote out of office anyone who votes to deny political freedom in Oklahoma.

My letter was also published by the Daily Oklahoman. Here it is as they published it.

Another session of the Legislature has ended and Oklahoma is still No. 1. In what? In having the worst ballot access laws in the nation. This state has the harshest laws regulating who can form a new political party or who can be on the presidential ballot. All other states have an easier process for both actions.

This year, the Legislature considered a bill that would have greatly eased both of these processes; once again, lawmakers quietly killed it. The bill would have reduced, by half, the number of signatures needed to form a new political party and to meet the independent presidential petition requirement. The bill went to a conference committee, where it languished and died. This is the same sort of committee that has quietly killed every ballot access bill that passed both chambers of the Legislature in the past six years.

Oklahoma sorely needs new political ideologies and new leadership outside the current parties. We will get neither if we keep electing the same people who block efforts to allow these ideologies and leaders access to the political process. We need to reform our laws, but more importantly we need to vote out of office anyone who denies political freedom in Oklahoma.

Sorry Representative Cleveland. Media Hype Is Not Justification For Legislation

December 3, 2013 Posted by zachary

Oklahoma State Representative Bobby ClevelandI am sure many of you have heard of the recent media scare called the “knockout game“. In this “game”, an assailant targets a random individual and attempts to knockout that person in a single punch. While the media has been playing this up as a dangerous new trend for youth, reality is far from it. Aside from the media reports of this “trend” there seems to be no verifiable evidence of it being an actual thing.

But don’t let facts get in the way of a law maker who wants to “take a stand” on what he sees as a dangerous threat to the safety of the citizens. This is my State Representative Bobby Cleveland for you. Cleveland is a freshman legislator in the Oklahoma House and he has yet to find that niche that will make him a household name in Oklahoma. Last year, his major contributions were the repeals of some old and outdated criminal laws, such as a law that made it illegal to horse race on main street. While he wants to keep that up, he has now set his sights on other areas he would like to tackle. One specific case is the “knockout game”.

Disappointed to see him waste his time and legislative slot on something like this, I wrote him a letter hoping to convince him that this was a bad idea. I specifically applauded him for his repeal efforts, explained that the “knockout game” is probably not a real threat, and pointed out that his proposal would most likely end up as one such law that someone else would end up having to repeal in the future.

Representative Cleveland,

I have greatly admired your efforts this past Legislative Session to repeal old and outdated criminal laws. It has been a breath of fresh air to see someone in the Legislature take that effort which so rarely happens.

However, I am greatly disappointed to see that you are proposing to introduce a bill which, if passed, would simply add to the list of pointless and outdated criminal laws. I am referring to your proposal to add further penalties to those playing the supposed “knockout game”.

http://newsok.com/oklahoma-lawmaker-seeks-to-deter-knockout-game/article/3908821

What really disappoints me here is that you are giving into the media hype around a game that may not actually exist and one that is not known to exist at all in Oklahoma. There have been exactly ZERO reports of anyone targeted this way in Oklahoma.

http://reason.com/blog/2013/11/25/is-the-knockout-game-a-hate-crime-is-it

We already have adequate laws against assault in this state and making an “example” of a particular kind of assault, which may not actually exist, does not seem to be an effective use of the Legislature.

I highly suggest that you end this idea of a law against the “knockout game” before you add to the pool of laws that someone like yourself will end up trying to repeal 10 years down the road.

Thank you for your time,

I will give Rep Cleveland credit here, he responded the same morning I sent my letter. I love it when I get quick feedback from my legislators. Unfortunately, his response was pretty light on substance. He did not really address my concern but simply restated his position that the law is needed for some as of yet unknown reason.

Good morning Zachary,

Thanks for your concern. First of all we do not have a law for juveniles that participate in the Knockout Game.

I am simply proposing that anyone under the age of 18 if they are convicted of knocking someone out they will be tried as as an adult.

Although, I am continuing to file Bills to repeal outdated laws, I believe my bill is important for Oklahomans.

I plan to repeal 31 laws this next session.

Again thank you for your concern.

Representative Cleveland

As you can see, this response really didn’t address my concerns in any reasonable fashion. So I sent a followup email. I responded to his email asking questions about each statement and then expanded my idea that this proposed legislation is a bad idea and does not address any real problem.  Oh. And I threw in a reference to another lawmaker who gave in to some rather absurd media hype.

Representative Cleveland,

Thank you for your quick response. I appreciate the effort you put into keeping the channels of communication open between yourself and your constituents.

I do feel the need to respond to your justification for your proposal.

You wrote, “First of all we do not have a law for juveniles that
participate in the Knockout Game.”

Do we not currently have laws for juveniles who participate in assault? Are those laws deficient in some way that they would not cover this perceived threat?

You wrote, “I am simply proposing that anyone under the age of 18 if they are convicted of knocking someone out they will be tried as as an adult.”

Is there really a need to take a youth, who is still growing both mentally and physically, and taking their life and future away for this perceived threat? Is the destruction of the future of a youth really a valid solution to this perceived problem?

Additionally, your bill proposed a solution, but I do not think you have fully identified a problem it is meant to address. I sent two links in my previous email. Both of which called into question the nature of the “knockout game”. Both expressed the idea that this “game” may not actually be a problem or even a “thing”. If this is nothing more than media hype, what puts your proposed legislature on higher ground than Senator Shortey’s proposed ban on using human fetuses in food production?

My main concern is that too many laws are introduced and passed based not on fact or science but on knee-jerk reactions to media hype. I would not want to see another law introduced on such flimsy grounds.

Again, I got a quick response from Rep Cleveland. Unfortunately, he seemed to have quickly grown tired of trying to defend and indefensible position. His letter was short and pointless. He did not address anything that I asked and did not provide any further justification.

BTW, I appreciate the nice things you said about my repealer bills. My knockout bill is more of a statement trying to get the word out that Oklahoma will not tolerate this game in Oklahoma. I understand where u are coming from. Again thanks for contacting me.

BC

In the end, what we have here is another lawmaker giving in to media hype and attacking the new and “scary” thing that your kids must be doing. It is a shame that he would defend this proposal rather than face the facts of the matter. Unfortunately, this behavior is rampant in legislatures across the nation.

All is not lost though. There is still time for Representative Cleveland to drop this idea. Legislators do not yet have to file legislation they wish to address in the 2014 session. So he could wake up to reality and decide that this legislation is a bad idea. Unfortunately, he has already gained press time for his idea and with that, his determination will probably be solidified. Which is sad really.

April Fools And All That

April 1, 2013 Posted by zachary

Today, if you had not noticed or don’t follow me on Facebook, I have been busy posting a whole lot of posts befitting the holiday. All my posts to Facebook, with the exception of one post, have been carefully constructed to contradict my normal political and idealogical positions. I will now document them here:

First up, my first post of the day regarding what games I purchase and play:

I have decided that I will no longer buy games unless they were published by Ubisoft or EA exclusively for Windows. There is nothing better than those combos. Except maybe always Online. Who needs offline play anyway?

For those who don’t follow me closely, I despise a number of positions, mostly due to DRM, that both EA and Ubisoft take. The Online-only requirement of many of their games being a big part of it. Additionally, as a Linux user, I try to avoid any game, with some exceptions, that do not have a Linux version.

Next, a little support for No-fly lists managed in secret by our government:

Reason is just so wrong on this issue. No Fly Lists are the best things the government has ever done. They keep us safe by keeping crazy people off flights. If anything, the list needs to be bigger. Just think about all the crazy people who would be sitting next to you if we didn’t have these lists. As for finding out why you are on it, you know what you did. If you didn’t do anything wrong, you wouldn’t be on the list. Simple as that.

http://reason.com/archives/2013/04/01/why-the-no-fly-list-doesnt-fly

Of course I think any violation of our 6th Amendment rights to be a very bad thing. Any process that allows the government to make decisions and dole out punishment without proper due process is a horrible practice. I would never support something like this and campaign continuously to undue all the damage done after 9/11.

I have also had a change of heart as to my political affiliation:

I have also decided to give up in my endeavor to see ballot access reform in Oklahoma. I have decided to instead join the Republican party. This means that I will be working with them to make Oklahoma a one party state in which the only options available to voters will be Republicans.

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. That’s my new motto.

I have been an Independent/Libertarian all my life and don’t plan on being anything else. The Republican controlled Oklahoma government has been a source of many frustrations as efforts to open elections have been thwarted at every turn. About the only thing the REpublican party can do regarding ballot access is to make it worse by doubling candidate filing fees this year.

Following that, I have also been converted to better economic principals:

I have also been converted to the idea of Keynesian Economics in which government spending drives a healthy economy. If that sounds like it contradicts my previous change of Joining the Republican Party, it doesn’t. Republicans believe firmly, if not openly, in Keynesian economics as displayed in its acts of granting special privileges and tax incentives for special interest companies. How better to drive growth in the private sector than to open up the trough of taxpayer money.

There is nothing “Free Market” about the US’s current economy or market. The government dips its dirty little fingers into every aspect of commerce. If we need anything, it is less government. It doesn’t matter if it is Republicans or Democrats who run the government, the truth is that our hard earned tax money gets taken from us and given to special interests who did not earn it. That needs to end.

Next, I have changed who represents me in the video game arena:

I have decided to leave the Entertainment Consumer Association and instead join the Video Game Voter Network, run by the Entertainment Software Association. I have learned that consumer rights can never grow and blossom without the careful oversight of a benevolent and loving corporate parent. After all, corporations, especially multi-national and publicly traded corporations, know what is best for their consumers. That loving guidance is just not something that can come from an independent organization such as the ECA.

The lack of autonomy of the VGVN was no clearer than it was during the protests of the Stop Online Piracy Act. In that protest, the ESA was busy trying to push the legislation through while the ECA was busy protesting and trying to put a stop to that infringement of our free speech rights. Silent throughout the whole protest was the VGVN. That proved once and for all that it would never be a source of real protection for video gamers.

Interestingly enough, I did have one post that was not an April Fool’s joke. It was my first post of the day and was made prior to me remembering what today was. This was in regard to a picture a friend of mine posted that seriously misconstrued the arguments against a minimum wage hike.

Who is against Minimum Wage Hikes?This is what I hate about the debate over minimum wage. Those in support of increasing minimum wage try to make it out as CEOs of big multi-billion dollar corporations are against it. They are not. They actually love minimum wage increases because it causes competition to drop out.

The people against minimum wage increases are those mom and pop shops that pro-labor people love to idolize. Those mom and pop shops are the ones actually hurt by increases in minimum wage. Those shops are already barely breaking even and adding unnecessary and costly increases to their expenses will hurt them more than anything.

By supporting minimum wage, you support big multi-national corporations and hate locally owned mom and pop shops.

So it has been an interesting day for me and anyone who follows me. I know I got my wife there for a while when it came to the switch to the Republican party. Many others were pretty quick on the draw and enjoyed the fun. We’ll have to see what I can think of next year.

My Video Game Legislation Scare

January 18, 2013 Posted by zachary

I was doing a search for video game related legislation that may have been introduced in the Oklahoma Legislature. My search for “video game” returned two bills. Since the OKLegislature’s bill search is busted beyond just allowing the search, I went to a different page and typed in the bill number. What came up was a bill creating definitions and punishments for mass killings.

This shocked me and I immediately set about reading the legislation to find out how the author made the connection between video games and mass killings. I could not find a single instance of the phrase “video games” in my reading. A text search could not find it either. I thought that perhaps the author had submitted an early draft, which got indexed for the text search, but a second draft was actually uploaded to the server. Nope.

Turns out, I was looking at the wrong bill. The search for “video game” returned a bill number SB955. I then mistyped and entered SB995 into the other page. Once I figured out the error, I was greatly relieved.

SB955 turned out to be dealing with electronic recycling that I may need to consider as it mandates that any retailer that sells electronics also act as a drop off center for recycling of electronics.

The other bill that returned for “video game” was some changes to lottery regulations and the term “video game” came up as part of the definition of “electronic lottery game”.

My Election Day Experience

November 6, 2012 Posted by zachary

So today, I voted. The lines were not too long. However, when I got to the front of the line, I had a few “issues”. First, I was asked my name. I told the lady my name. Then she asked for my ID. I told her “No thank you.” Not quite sure what to do, she asked me again. I turned the sign about voter ID and provisional ballots around, and had to specifically ask for a provisional ballot. That is when things got really interesting. The ladies running the polling booth did not really know what to do. It seemed like I was the first person who even needed on. (sadly)

Next, I went to get to the part where I filled out the information that they would use to verify who I am. Two issues with this. First, I refused to show my ID but was told I had to provide a drivers license number. Why is that necessary? What if someone who does not have a drivers license? How are they going to provide that information? I was pretty sure that they didn’t need that information, but decided to relent just to not be too difficult. The next problem came when she asked for my political affiliation. When she asked, she asked if I was Democrat or Republican. Those were the only options she listed in the question. I responded that I am Americans Elect until tomorrow. She looked at me like I was an idiot or a liar. She then asked me if I was even in the book of registered voters. I said yes. She asked me again. I told her again and she finally wrote it down. I then recommended that she change the way she asked the question of affiliation to include Independent. This is where it got really interesting.

She told me right off, that there are no Independents. I told her that 11% of the registered voters are registered as Independent. She told me “They don’t come here.” She then lectured me on why people end up as Independent. She claimed that those who are registered Independent are people who simply forgot to declare Democratic or Republican when they registered. She was one of the most ignorant persons I have ever met.

So, As for voting, I finally got mine cast, provisionally at least.

  • I skipped the Presidential line. No sense voting for evil no matter how “lesser” it is.
  • Voted for RJ Harris for US Congress district 4
  • Voted for Democrats in State House and Senate because I just didn’t care for the Republicans.
  • Voted for Hewitt for McClain County Sheriff.
  • Voted yes on SQ 766, 762, 765
  • Voted no on all judges retentions because “Heck, why not?”
  • Had fun.

Here are some images of my ballots, which by showing you, I am breaking the law. Oops. Click to view the full size.

My Ballot, Front Page

Close up of my non-vote for President

My Ballot, Back Page

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

August 15, 2012 Posted by zachary

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

June 27, 2012 Posted by zachary

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

June 26, 2012 Posted by zachary

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.