Ballot Access News reports
On October 6, U.S. District Court Judge David Russell, a Reagan appointee, denied injunctive relief in Barr v Clingman, civ-08-730-R. However, he set a briefing schedule for the declaratory relief part of the case.
Judge Russell had also upheld the Oklahoma presidential petition procedures in 1996, in Natural Law Party v Henley; and he had done so again in 2000 in Nader v Ward. In 1996 he wrote that the law does not place a “significant, severe or substantial burden on either presidential or vice-presidential candidates’ access to the ballot or on voters’ right to vote.” Judge Russell had also upheld Oklahoma’s failure to provide for write-ins, in COFOE v McElderry in 1993. However, unlike his actions in those three previous cases, at least this time he kept the case alive so that more evidence can be presented in the next four months.
Oklahoma voters who desire to vote for Barr, or Nader, or Baldwin, or McKinney, or any other presidential candidate besides Obama and McCain, ought to consider setting up a “freedom ballot”, as was done in Mississippi in 1964. Many adult black citizens in Mississippi were not permitted to register in 1964, so they set up alternate voting sites, with their own ballots and their own registration procedures. With the existence of the internet, such activity ought to be easier than it was in 1964.
Another alternative for people who are really unhappy about losing their free vote, would be to sit in at the polls. This was done in Indiana in 1988. One particular voter refused to leave the polls until he was permitted to cast a write-in vote. Indiana banned write-ins at the time, and Indiana was one of four states which kept Ron Paul off the November 1988 ballot as the Libertarian nominee for president. The voter was arrested and taken to jail, but Indiana’s ban on write-ins was struck down shortly afterwards in Paul’s lawsuit.
With the loss of injunctive relief in this case, Oklahoma is once again the only state with no independent or smaller party candidates on the ballot OR with write-in status, just as it was in 2004. An effort to ease the draconian petition requirements this past winter failed to collect enough signatures, in part because of Oklahoma laws which require a large percentage of registered voters to sign to put an issue on the ballot. Oklahoma also forbids freedom activists and independent/alternative party supporters from other states from coming to Oklahoma to help the people of that state who are oppressed by the major parties monopoly on state ballots.
As of October 6, Connecticut Libertarian activists believe they have found more than 7,500 valid signatures on the petition to put Bob Barr on the ballot. The law requires 7,500 signatures for statewide office. Earlier the state had determined that the Barr petition had fewer than 7,500 valid signatures. The evidence that there are enough valid signatures is being presented to U. S. District Court Judge Janet Hall, who is handling the case called Libertarian Party of Connecticut v Bysiewicz, 3:08cv-1513. A status conference is set for Wednesday, October 8.