Category: ‘Politics and Law’

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.


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.

Letter To NewsOK Regarding Ballot Access In OKlahoma Compared To Egypt

June 20, 2012 Posted by zachary

Every once and a while, I send a letter to the editor of the Daily Oklahoman (or rather 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 zachary

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.

The State Of Elections In Oklahoma

April 26, 2012 Posted by zachary

The filing period for candidacy in Oklahoma ended on April 13 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 Representative

  • District 1: November. 2 Republican, 1 Democrat and 1 Independent.
  • District 2: November. 6 Republicans, 2 Democrats and 1 Independent
  • District 3: November. 2Republicans, 2 Democrats and 1 Independent
  • District 4: November. 2 Republicans, 2 Democrats and 1 Independent
  • District 5: November. 1 Republican, 1 Democrat and 2 Independents

Corporation Commissioner

  • Long Term: Primary. Republican
  • Short Term: Uncontested. Republican

State Senate

The following is a list of all uncontested districts. All Uncontested districts are going to Republicans this year:

Districts: 19,21,23,29,35,47

The following are all districts that will be decided in the primaries. All these are going to Republicans this year:

Districts: 17,25,33,37,45

The following are all districts that will be on the November ballot. I have noted if there is an Independent on the ballot (I) or whether there is no Democrat (no D). All districts have at least on Republican running:

Districts: 1,3,5,7,9,11(I),13,15,27(I, no D),31,39,41(I),43

State House

The following are all uncontested Republican districts. 34 in all:

Districts: 5,9,10,11,30,31,33,35,38,40,41,43,46,50,52,54,55,57,58,61,62,67, 69,74,75,80,81,85,90,91,93,95,96,98

The following are all uncontested Democratic districts. 19 in all:

Districts: 1,4,6,7,8,13,15,17,19,24,34,44,65,73,77,89,92,94,97

The following are all districts decided in the Republican primary. 13 in all:

Districts: 25,39,49,53,59,63,64,68,70,79,82,84,100

The following are all districts decided in the Democratic primary. 1 in all:

District: 18

The following are all districts that will have a November election. 34 in all:

Districts: 2,3,12,14,16,20,21,22,23,26,27,28,29,32,36,37,42,45,47,48,51,56,60, 66,71,72,76,78,83,86,87,88,99,101

There are no Independents running in the State House.


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 47% presence in the house with the possibility of snagging another 34%. 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 20% presence in the House. They may capture some of the 34% up for grabs in November, but I doubt it will be enough to counter the guaranteed presence by the Republicans.

The 2010 election set Republicans in the majority in the Senate. This election looks to seal that majority for another 2 years at least. With 11 of the 24 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 2014 would have to go to non-Republican candidates in order to break their majority hold. Unfortunately, if this year and 2 years ago 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 there are only 9 Independents running, with 6 of those for US Representative. 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.

The ECA Hits The Streets Of DC

April 12, 2012 Posted by zachary

Jenn, Me And Hal

From Left to Right: Jenn Mercurio, Me, Hal Halpin

Reposted from Game Politics.

In the last week of March, the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) took to Capital Hill to meet with members of Congress about SOPA, PIPA and other issues that effect gamers and game developers. The trip was spearheaded by ECA President, Hal Halpin, VP, Jennifer Mercurio and Advocacy Manager, Brett Schenker.  I had the opportunity to come, along with James Portnow of Extra Credits and Trevor and Josh Hughes of Add A Tudez Entertainment. Coming out of it, I think the event was very much a success.

While SOPA was one of the primary focuses of our various discussions, we did have some time to talk about other issues that effect gamers and game developers. So rather than just file down through everything that happened, what I would like to do is share a few things that really stuck with me after the event.

On the topic of SOPA, we had some very good discussions with the offices of key members of the SOPA opposition. These was a staff member from Zoe Lofgren‘s office, Representative Jared Polis, and a staff member of Jason Chaffetz‘s office. The discussions we had about SOPA were very encouraging. Each person we talked to expressed their desire to continue the fight against SOPA like legislation. They all expected it to come back in some form or another, so they want us all to be aware and keep watch. They know that it was the efforts of the wider internet community that made the difference back in January.

On to the subject of PIPA, the Senate’s version of SOPA, the only player from this side of the debate that I had the opportunity to visit with was a staff member of Senator Tom Coburn‘s office. If you recall, Senator Coburn was one of the supporters of PIPA prior to the January protests. Right around the time of the protest, he pulled his support for the bill. This was a major blow against the bill, as Coburn sits on the Technology Subcommittee. Based on the discussion we had, it would seem that Coburn pulled his support because he did not fully appreciate what was in the bill. The conversation was primarily a fact finding mission from his office. They wanted to know more about piracy and how it affects game consumers and game developers big and small. In the future, I think we could probably count on Senator Coburn to be a voice of reason in the debate.

Now onto some other points of interest.

Back in Representative Lofgren’s office, one of the topics that came up was a general reform of copyright, particularly revolving around the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). We were asked what we would want to see happen with the DMCA and copyright to bring it back into balance with the public. One of the key points was reform of the DMCA takedown process. Right now, this process is very much weighted against fair use and free speech. There is also very little in the way of discouraging abuse of the process. Based on the conversation we had, I would hope to see some reforms being introduced in the near future. Of course, like any reform of copyright that is not 100% in favor of large entertainment companies, this type of reform will be fought hard by the MPAA and the RIAA. So when we do see it introduced, we need to show our support for it in much the same way we showed our opposition to SOPA.

The next really interesting bit of discussion came while visiting with Representative Chaffetz’s office. While we were talking about SOPA and other issues, Chaffetz’s staffer told us a story that recently happened on Capital Hill. Nintendo was there, presumably about the recent DMCA anti-circumvention exceptions approval process. As you may recall, one of the exceptions asked for this year is the ability to jailbreak a game console to allow for extra functionality to run on it. Nintendo was there showing off how DS carts like the R4 work and trying to explain how evil they are. While they were showing it off, Chaffetz’s staffer was looking at it and thought it was a pretty neat device. He then asked Nintendo’s reps if they have similar functionality available legitimately for the handheld. When asked that, Nintendo’s reps looked at him as if he asked them something completely insane. Our conversation with the Staffer then went on about how jailbreaking and things like the R4 allow for so much more than just piracy. Things like homebrew software, other operating systems, importing games and format shifting legally owned games are all possible. This really interested the staffer. So while we still don’t know if we will get an exception for jailbreaking game consoles, we now know just how much effort console companies are putting in to put a stop to it.

So those are the most interesting things that I got to participate in. There was another set of visits that I didn’t get to attend that probably have their own cool things discussed, as there were two teams holding meetings. Perhaps James, Josh or Trevor will have something to share from their points of view. I think the trip was fun and very much worth it. When the ECA plans another one, I hope to be able to attend that one as well.

Check out Josh Hughes’ write up about our trip to DC.

Why I Dropped Godaddy Like A Plagued Rat

December 27, 2011 Posted by zachary

Back in 2006, I registered my first domain, this one you are reading on. I wanted a website to show off the work I have done and promote myself to future employers. I decided on the name fairly easy based on some advice from my father-in-law. Once I had figured out what domain to register, I chose my registrar. Because of my fairly naive nature at the time, I chose Godaddy. Not because I liked its service over the competition, but because it was the only registrar I really knew of at the time.

Over the years I registered several other domains through them. I was fairly happy with the level of service Godaddy provided. Sure, the UI was clunky and convoluted, but it was usable at least. I never had a real reason to complain. That changed in the last couple of years though.

Over the last few years, I really learned just how anti-consumer Godaddy was. There were rumors that Godaddy was driving the cost of domain auctions up. They also had a propensity to block access to domains under dubious circumstances, such as RateMyCop and PhotoAttorney. Then there was the controversy of Godaddy CEO killing elephants, although the actual events didn’t bother me as much as the downplaying that followed.

But all that was just a prelude to the real problem. Even with all that controversy and all those problems, I never really had a strong resolve to transfer all my domains away. That is I didn’t have that resolve until this year. You see, this year came the horrid tripe of a bill called SOPA. Yes there is also an equally bad version in the Senate called Protect IP (PIPA). Both of these came with it strong support from one major domain registrar, Godaddy. Yes Godaddy supported SOPA/PIPA.

It was this that led me to finally make the move and transfer my domain. As of 12/27/2011, My domains are in the process of transfer. I am just waiting for Godaddy to finalize them. Now I realize that Godaddy, after seeing the outrage from domain owners, has “changed” its mind on the subject. While their lip service is nice and all, it lacks any meat that would help rectify the concerns of the greater internet community. Take the following paragraph as an example:

“Fighting online piracy is of the utmost importance, which is why Go Daddy has been working to help craft revisions to this legislation – but we can clearly do better,” Warren Adelman, Go Daddy’s newly appointed CEO, said. “It’s very important that all Internet stakeholders work together on this. Getting it right is worth the wait. Go Daddy will support it when and if the Internet community supports it.”

Just looking at that paragraph, it clearly shows that Godaddy still supports the general idea behind SOPA and is willing to try to work to make it more palatable to the internet users. However, there is no way to change SOPA that would appease those that create the useful services online. There is certainly nothing that could be done to appease me. Next we have this little gem:

“As a company that is all about innovation, with our own technology and in support of our customers, Go Daddy is rooted in the idea of First Amendment Rights and believes 100 percent that the Internet is a key engine for our new economy,” said Adelman.

You see, if Godaddy really felt this way, why would they even support SOPA in the first place. Even in its current amended form, it still harms the innovation and security of the internet. It was even worse 3 months ago when Godaddy supported it. Why would it just now suddenly see the light? Oh. That’s right, 10s of thousands of domains have been transferred over the last few days. Finally, we have this little number:

In changing its position, Go Daddy remains steadfast in its promise to support security and stability of the Internet. In an effort to eliminate any confusion about its reversal on SOPA though, Jones has removed blog postings that had outlined areas of the bill Go Daddy did support.

While i feel that any company or person can run their blog the way they want, I think deleting the entire blog posts on the topic of SOPA support was a bad move, It would have been far better if they had simply left them be with a simple redaction at the top pointing to the most recent blog posts on why they changed their minds. It would have certainly let people make a more informed decision on whether to continue to support Godaddy.

With all that said, I am still transferring my domains. Godaddy will no longer get any money from me. I recommend that all that currently do use Godaddy to transfer their domains and support a business that truly supports the internet and those that make it valuable.

If you need help in the transfer process, my friend, John Paul Sherman, pointed me to this article on the transfer process. While that article transfers domains from Godaddy to NameCheap, I transferred mine to Dreamhost, which strongly opposes SOPA, because I have my hosting there and have already registered a domain with them.

So when it comes down to it, SOPA is bad and it makes toxic any company that supports it. It doesn’t matter what happens afterward, that company cannot be trusted ever again.

Why Is Our Logo Censored?

November 29, 2011 Posted by zachary

You may have noticed that our logo is censored with a link pointing to American Censorship. You will see the same thing at Divine Knight Gaming, Random Tower and Mormon Libertarian.There is an interesting story about it.

What is happening is the US government at the behest of a number of media companies such as the RIAA, MPAA and the ESA are working to pass some of the worst copyright legislation in US history. These two bills are titled “Stop Online Piracy Act” in the House and “Protect Intellectual Property Act” in the Senate. What these bills hope to accomplish is a reduction in movie, music, game and software piracy as well as reduce counterfeit goods from entering the US.

They hope to achieve these goals by giving sweeping power to the US Attorney General and copyright holders the ability to prevent ad providers, credit card processing firms and DNS providers from working with websites that are “dedicated to infringing activities”. These bills would also make it illegal to stream or upload any video or song that is covered by copyright that you do not have rights to.

Sadly, these bills will be used to censor a lot more than copyright infringement. Under these bills, sites like YouTube, Twitter, Flicker, Facebook  and any other site that allows users to upload content will be liable if anyone uploads copyrighted materials without permission. That means that if someone uploads a video to YouTube that infringes a copyright, movie studios would be able to have all of YouTubes services cut off and whole swaths of legal content will be censored as a result.

That isn’t even the worst of it. Currently under the DMCA, copyright holders can only ask for certain content to be removed. If the site owner removes said content they maintain what is called “safe harbor” protections. This prevents the site owner from being sued for copyright infringement for something a user of the site did. This is a good thing for sites like YouTube because safe harbors have allowed it to continue to operate and be a vessel of free speech for millions of people.

Under SOPA, all that goes away. Now, it doesn’t matter what the site owner does, they will have no safe harbor to protect them. If only one person uploads a copyrighted song or video, the whole site is gone even if the rest of the millions of videos are perfectly legal.

Additionally, SOPA and PROTECT-IP have no punishment for false accusations. A copyright holder can have a site removed and if it turns out to be a completely legal site, there is no punishment for the false takedown. Nothing happens to that copyright holder. That is beyond bad. There should be some kind of punishment such as a fine of $150,000 per false takedown. But no. They can get away with it.

One last thing I would like to share is that under these laws there is also no court involved. Copyright holders can just fire off letters at will to ISPs, DNS providers, Credit card companies and ad companies and those companies have to follow the law or they can be prosecuted for copyright infringement that had ZERO to do with them. This is absurd on a major level. These companies are completely neutral in all this but they run the risk of being prosecuted themselves if they don’t comply. Not with a court order, but with a letter from some random person or company. If a court were involved, these copyright holders would have to prove that the site is actually infringing before anything could happen, but the content industries don’t want to have to get a court order. They feel it is too much work.

In the end, these laws are not about stopping piracy. These laws are about unloading the burden of policing the content of copyright holders like those under the RIAA, MPAA and ESA onto third parties that have absolutely no power to control what users of the internet do. They don’t want to have to do the work themselves.

These bills need to stop now before they can be voted into law. Using the link provided at the beginning of this post and that can be found by clicking the black bar over our logo, you can contact your Senators and Congressman and tell them not to vote for this legislation. Tell them that you like our internet as it is.

You can also Contact those in Congress and support an organization that is dedicated to gamers by visiting the ECA:

Don’t Let Congress Censor the Internet

You can find more information about these bills at the following location:

The Definitive Post On Why SOPA And Protect IP Are Bad, Bad Ideas
Congress considers anti-piracy bills that could cripple Internet industries