Posts Tagged: ‘Ballot Access Reform’

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

November 17, 2014 Posted by E. Zachary Knight

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 E. Zachary Knight

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.

April Fools And All That

April 1, 2013 Posted by E. Zachary Knight

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.

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

August 15, 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.

Letter To NewsOK Regarding Ballot Access In OKlahoma Compared To Egypt

June 20, 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

May 25, 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.

Oklahoma Legislature Hates Democracy: The Sequel

May 2, 2011 Posted by E. Zachary Knight

Great Seal of The State of Oklahoma - 1907Last week I wrote how the Oklahoma Legislature failed, for the fourth year in a row, to pass Ballot Access Reform. That, unfortunately, is not the end of their Democracy hating actions. They also passed a bill that greatly decreases the amount of time that new parties have to gather the unnecessarily burdensome number of signatures.

Prior to the passage of HB 1615, the deadline for new party petitions was May. This bill changes that to March. A loss of 2 months to gather the 50,000+ signatures needed to have party approval for 2012.

What really gets my goat here, is the fact that Senator Sykes is the Senate Sponsor of this bill as well as a committee member of the Senate Rules Committee that killed HB 1058, the Ballot Access Reform bill. So in two moves Senator Sykes made it even more difficult for the people of Oklahoma to hold a “free and equal” election (Oklahoma Constitution, Section III-5) (more…)

Oklahoma Legislature Hates Democracy

April 28, 2011 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

Those words are found in our state’s constitution. Yet, our state legislature is not living up to that standard.

In 1974, the Legislative branch of Oklahoma decided they did not want competition in the Gubernatorial or Presidential elections from any person that was not a Republican or Democrat. They decided that they did not want any other parties rising up in Oklahoma to throw them out.

So they did what any fearful legislative body would do. They changed the laws to suit their own ends. They did this in two ways: First they wrote themselves into law. Second they put up extreme barriers for any other party. (more…)