Free & Equal supports Oklahoma lobbying effort for fairer ballot access laws

Sent to contact.ipr@gmail.com:

The Free & Equal Elections Foundation has made a financial commitment to a lobbying effort in Oklahoma aimed at easing the nation’s highest petition requirement for unqualified political parties.

The foundation has given an initial grant to Oklahomans for Ballot Access Reform (OBAR) a coalition of the state’s third parties to help fund its lobbying of state House Bill 1072 through February. The bill would lower Oklahoma’s ballot-access requirement for small parties. Free & Equal plans to give more to the effort as the legislative process moves forward.

“Nowhere in the nation is the two-party stranglehold felt more than in Oklahoma, home to America’s most exclusionary ballot-access law for third parties,” Christina Tobin said, Free & Equal founder and chairwoman. “Oklahoma should be looked upon nationally as the focal point in the fight for fair treatment of small parties who are denied their right to compete on a level playing field.”

Oklahoma currently requires unqualified parties to gather signatures of registered voters equal to 5 percent of the votes cast in the previous election for president or governor. For this year’s election, that comes out to 73,134 signatures, but about twice that amount is needed to ensure the goal is met. Among other reasons, signatures can be invalidated if addresses and names of signers are inconsistent with voter rolls.

In its current form, HB 1072 would lower the requirement to 3 percent while tying it to the last vote for governor only. This would place Oklahoma parallel with Alabama, which has the same requirement.

OBAR has instructed its lobbyist to propose an even lower threshold of 1 percent or a flat 5,000 signatures, which was the law from 1924 – 1974. During that 50-year stretch, Oklahoma never had more than two ballot-qualified third parties. OBAR also points out that nearly 30 states require 5,000 signatures or less.

“Oklahoma won’t line up with the rest of the country on this issue until it gets the threshold down to around 1 percent,” Micah Gamino said, Free & Equal Media Director. “Why should Oklahoma be out in left field on this? The decision of who to vote for should belong to the people, not the government. People don’t care about party politics as much as they care about seeing the job done right.”

Free & Equal is working with OBAR to plan a high-level, free and equal elections event, tentatively slated for April 11 at Noble Park in Guthrie, Oklahoma, to raise awareness about Oklahoma’s exclusive election laws.

Oklahoma Quick Facts:

  • Only state to have only Republican and Democrat on the ballot for president in 2008 and 2004.
  • One of only five states that does not allow “write-in” votes.
  • Requires new parties to get 10 percent of the vote for governor or president in the next General Election to remain ballot-qualified.

36 thoughts on “Free & Equal supports Oklahoma lobbying effort for fairer ballot access laws

  1. D Frank Robinson

    The Free & Equal Elections Foundation has made a financial commitment to a lobbying effort in Oklahoma aimed at easing the nation’s highest petition requirement for unqualified political parties.

    The foundation has given an initial grant to Oklahomans for Ballot Access Reform (OBAR) a coalition of the state’s third parties to help fund its lobbying of state House Bill 1072 through February. The bill would lower Oklahoma’s ballot-access requirement for small parties. Free & Equal plans to give more to the effort as the legislative process moves forward.

    “Nowhere in the nation is the two-party stranglehold felt more than in Oklahoma, home to America’s most exclusionary ballot-access law for third parties,” Christina Tobin said, Free & Equal founder and chairwoman. “Oklahoma should be looked upon nationally as the focal point in the fight for fair treatment of small parties who are denied their right to compete on a level playing field.”

    Oklahoma currently requires unqualified parties to gather signatures of registered voters equal to 5 percent of the votes cast in the previous election for president or governor. For this year’s election, that comes out to 73,134 signatures, but about twice that amount is needed to ensure the goal is met. Among other reasons, signatures can be invalidated if addresses and names of signers are inconsistent with voter rolls.

    In its current form, HB 1072 would lower the requirement to 3 percent while tying it to the last vote for governor only. This would place Oklahoma parallel with Alabama, which has the same requirement.

    OBAR has instructed its lobbyist to propose an even lower threshold of 1 percent or a flat 5,000 signatures, which was the law from 1924 – 1974. During that 50-year stretch, Oklahoma never had more than two ballot-qualified third parties. OBAR also points out that nearly 30 states require 5,000 signatures or less.

    “Oklahoma won’t line up with the rest of the country on this issue until it gets the threshold down to around 1 percent,” Micah Gamino said, Free & Equal Media Director. “Why should Oklahoma be out in left field on this? The decision of who to vote for should belong to the people, not the government. People don’t care about party politics as much as they care about seeing the job done right.”

    Free & Equal is working with OBAR to plan a high-level, free and equal elections event, tentatively slated for April 11 at Noble Park in Guthrie, Oklahoma, to raise awareness about Oklahoma’s exclusive election laws.

    Oklahoma Quick Facts:

    * Only state to have only Republican and Democrat on the ballot for president in 2008 and 2004.
    * One of only five states that does not allow “write-in” votes.
    * Requires new parties to get 10 percent of the vote for governor or president in the next General Election to remain ballot-qualified.

  2. Ralph Swanson

    Meanwhile, in the UK it looks like the Libertarian council member is working on tax issues.

    http://www.thisisstaffordshire.co.uk/news/Tax-goes-council-aims-tighten-belt/article-1868885-detail/article.html

    COUNCIL tax bills in Stoke-on-Trent will rise by 2.89 per cent from April after the majority of councillors backed the increase.
    …After Labour’s amendment was heavily defeated, members passed the budget by 35 votes to 14.
    The opposition consisted of all 12 Labour members present, as well as City Independent councillor Ann James and Libertarian councillor Gavin Webb….

  3. paulie

    Any way to make the print bigger?

    There’s a whole bunch of code that would need to be stripped. I’ll try to get around to it later if no one else does first.

  4. What a difference a ..........

    a year makes,

    any opportunities for Non Democrats and Non Republicrats in New York State in the next Gubernatorial contest ?????????

    MICHAEL GORMLEY, Associated Press Written – 19 mins ago

    ALBANY, N.Y. – [Democratic Party] Governor David Paterson, who repeatedly and defiantly said he would let voters decide if he should run the state, abruptly quit his nascent election bid Friday amid a stalled agenda, faltering popularity and criticism ………

  5. Trent Hill

    Good for Free and Equal. They have been impressive thus far. They raised $100,000 in 2009 alone + $20,000 this year so far. With that kind of money, they ought to be able to put a real dent in the system, assuming they use it correctly.

    Frankly, I wish they’d do more stuff like this (lobbying for better ballot access bills) and less candidate debates.

  6. Andy

    “Trent Hill // Feb 26, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    Good for Free and Equal. They have been impressive thus far. They raised $100,000 in 2009 alone + $20,000 this year so far. With that kind of money, they ought to be able to put a real dent in the system, assuming they use it correctly.”

    It is too bad that they employee the bumbling criminal, former LP Political Director, Sean Haugh. Haugh made an absolute mess of Libertarian Party ballot access in 2008. His gross mismanagement and criminal behavior is one of the primary reasons that the Libertarian Party had the worst ballot access in a Presidential election year since either 1984 or 1988 depending on how you want to count it. Fortunately, Sean Haugh was fired from the position of LP Political Director in December of 2008. Unfortunately, Haugh’s firing was too late to save the multiple ballot access failures in 2008 (most of which he played a direct or indirect role in – and note that these failures include local candidates as well as the Presidential ticket), and it was also too late to save the thousands of dollars in donors money that he squandered.

    Help Nail Sean Haugh for Election Crimes part 1
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKerwfun0Oo

    Help Nail Sean Haugh for Election Crimes part 2
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WsNFUYEVTEg&feature=related

    Also note that Free & Equal FAILED to place Eric Sundwall on the ballot in a race for Congress in 2009.

  7. Thomas L. Knapp

    “Free & Equal FAILED to place Eric Sundwall on the ballot in a race for Congress in 2009.”

    To steal a phrase from Joe Wilson — you lie.

    Free and Equal did put Sundwall on the ballot.

    The duopoly’s State Board of Elections subsequently removed him from the ballot.

  8. Andy

    “To steal a phrase from Joe Wilson — you lie.

    Free and Equal did put Sundwall on the ballot.

    The duopoly’s State Board of Elections subsequently removed him from the ballot.”

    BULLSHIT! Free & Equal FAILED to gather a sufficient number of valid petition signatures. They knew what the requirement was and FAILED. It was not the big, bad state’s fault. It was the fault of incompetentence from the petition team.

    I have worked on NUMEROUS petition drives all over the country (26 states plus DC) and I’ve got a stellar reputation (for instance, a top coordinator in California recently offered me a special deal to work with him, if I didn’t have an excellent track record he wouldn’t have made that offer). I am far more qualified to comment on this than you are.

    Your misinformed excuse could be used to cover up any ballot access failure that was caused by incompetent petitioners and incompetent petitioning management.

    Free & Equal as a petition outfit is a joke. All they do is hire the same mercenary petitioners who’ve already worked for the Libertarian Party and Nader campaign and then re-package them under the name Free & Equal so Haugh and Tobin can take credit for their work. A better idea would be to just call up the mercenary petitioners and hire them directly and cut Haugh and Tobin out of it.

    Click this link and check out Free & Equal’s petitioning accomplishments. They are a joke.

    http://www.freeandequalinc.com/past-candidates/

    Their biggest accomplishment was getting Green Party candidate Reverand Billy on the ballot for the Mayoral race in New York City. The requirement was 7,500 signatures and they turned in over 18,000 raw signatures, so they were obviously banking on a pathetic validity rate (like they got for Sundwall).

    Those candidates for the Illinois primaries don’t require that many signatures, so there is nothing impressive about getting them on the ballot.

    Also, notice how Eric Sundwall is missing from their list of accomplishments. Gee, I wonder why. LOL!

    I find it pretty damn hilarious that Sean Haugh’s phone number is on the site for ballot access consulting. Anyone who would call Haugh for this (or anything else for that matter) is a NAIVE FOOL.

    Why bother calling Haugh anyway when Haugh is just going to call Darryl Bonner? You’d be better served to not even bother calling Haugh and just hire Bonner directly. Haugh brings nothing of value to the table and just gets in the way. At least Bonner is capable of doing the work, that’s more than I can say for Haugh.

    Haugh is a worthless hanger on who takes credit for other people’s work and parasites off of donors (and as I said above, he was a primary reason for the LP’s ballot access failures in 2008 and he squandered thousands upon thousands of dollars of LP donor’s money). A good source told me that Haugh’s stint in New York City on the Reverand Billy campaign was essentially a free vacation for him as he didn’t do much of anything.

    I’ve been involved in ballot access for almost 10 years and I’ve worked all over the country. Haugh is the most incompetent, dishonest jackass that I’ve ever encountered in the business.

    I could give you a long list of people in the petition world who are far more competent than Haugh. Once again, anyone who takes him seriously is a NAIVE FOOL.

  9. Andy

    Haugh is not a legitimate petition coordinator, nor is he a petitioner. He’s a joke. He wouldn’t make it in California which is the Mecca of the petition business. If Haugh had been working for a REAL petition outfit in California in 2008 his ass would have been shit canned much sooner than the LP shit canned him (and he likely would have had criminal charges pressed against him as well). Haugh wouldn’t be able to hack it in an environment where he wasn’t being coddled by a good ole boy ass kissing network (which is how he got his job in the Libertarian Party), as in a place where the only thing that counts is MERIT and where showing up at meetings and kissing asses doesn’t count for shit. Haugh failed with LP ballot access and there was barely a whimper, but if Haugh had failed in California (where it is more of a BUSINESS environment in qualifying iniatives, referenda, and recalls for the ballot and where there is a lot more money on the line) you’d best believe that his head would have been on the chopping block immediately (actually, he likely never would have been hired in the first place as anything more than a street petitioner and he’d fail at that and then disappear). Also, I know some rough neck petitioners in California who wouldn’t have thought twice about making Haugh seriously regret that petition burning shit if he had pulled that on them. If Haugh had to sink or swim on his own in California in the petition business (as in nobody on an LNC was protecting him and he’d couldn’t call Darryl Bonner to save him) he’d drown.

    Haugh is a no talent loser. Well, I take that back, he’s got a talent for kissing ass and taking credit for other people’s work, but when it comes to anything of substance, Haugh’s a no talent loser.

  10. paulie

    Haugh is a member of both the Green and Libertarian parties.

    The lobbying arm of Free and Equal is, as I understand it, separate from the petition company.

  11. Andy

    “and your take on the Nader
    efforts in California P2004?”

    Ralph Nader attemtped to get on the ballot in California as an independent in 2004. This required around 170,000 valid petition signatures (the highest signature requirement in the country for a candidate petition – but of course keep in mind that California is the state with the highest population). By the time that Ralph Nader petition drive started in California in 2004 (or at least by the time it started paying) a lot of the best petition circulators in California were out of the state as the paid statewide ballot initiative petitions for the 2004 election were over and a lot of the good petitioners had gone to work on ballot initiative petitions in states that have a later deadline for the Novemember election than California such as Washington, Colorado, and Ohio. Some of these petitioners had gone on the road to work candidate petitions in other states. So a lot of the petitioners who were left in California were not the top notch petitioners. During this time period, the only statewide petition that was paying in California was the Ralph Nader petition, but there were also a few local petitions going on here and there. The Republicans were also paying on voter registrations (the Republicans in California have been paying for voter registrations on and off for at least the last 10 years), but the pay on the Republican registrations didn’t go up high until around late August or early September which was after the independent candidate for President petition deadline in California (which I believe is on August 6th).

    Another factor at play was that the Democrats in California (and Democrats in other states for that matter) threw a hissy fit over the idea of Ralph Nader being on the ballot for President again because they blamed Ralph Nader for throwing the 2000 election to George W. Bush. So to make matters worse, some Democrats were going around harrassing petitioners wh0 gathering signatures for Ralph Nader.

    I had a conversation with a prominent petition coordinator in California about this and she told me that Ralph Nader actually called her up at her office. The reason that he called was because he was wondering why the number of signatures coming in each week was so much lower than expected. He asked her if she thought if they raised the pay on the signatures if she thought that that would be the difference maker in raising the signature production level to a point where he’d be on track to obtain ballot status. She responded by saying, “To be honest with you Mr. Nader, I don’t think that the people of California want you to be on the ballot.”

    The Ralph Nader campaign canceled their paid petition effort in California shortly after this and Ralph Nader failed to make the ballot in California for the 2004 election.

    Ralph Nader played it far more intelligently in California in 2008 as he captured the Presidential nomination of the Peace and Freedom Party (a leftist party which only had ballot status in California) and therefore did not have to petition for ballot status in California since the Peace and Freedom Party already had ballot status.

  12. Andy

    “Haugh is a member of both the Green and Libertarian parties.”

    Haugh is an opportunist. He’d probably join the Democrats or Republicans if they offered him a paycheck.

  13. Gary Fincher

    Knapp – always the biggest liar – is the biggest liar. If someone doesn’t get their name printed on the ballot, then they AREN’T ON THE BALLOT.

    Why is this moron buffoon still on these message boards, for heaven’s sake??

  14. Gary Fincher

    “At least Bonner is capable of doing the work, that’s more than I can say for Haugh. ”

    Did the work – but there was the fraudulent signatures in Maryland that he turned in to me that almost got me into hot water.

  15. Andy

    “Gary Fincher // Mar 1, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    Knapp – always the biggest liar – is the biggest liar. If someone doesn’t get their name printed on the ballot, then they AREN’T ON THE BALLOT.

    Why is this moron buffoon still on these message boards, for heaven’s sake??”

    I’m glad that Tom Knapp is out of the presidential race. He would have been a dreadful candidate for a variety of reasons (his lack of logic is just one of them).

    The petition drive to place Eric Sundwall in the ballot in New York failed because Free and Equal (ie-Chistina Tobin and Sean Haugh repackaging mercenary petitioners who were already working for the Libertarian Party and Ralph Nader camapaign so they can continue to take credit for their work) did not gather a sufficient number of valid petition signatures. They knew what the requirment was and they failed to meet it. They conned Sundwall into believing they had it under control when they did not. Unfortuantely for Sundwall (as well as everyone who donated to that campaign), they clearly did NOT have the situation under control.

  16. Thomas L. Knapp

    Quoth Fincher:

    “Knapp — always the biggest liar”

    I gave up lying while still in my youth. Seldom works, and even when it does it requires more effort to frame/sustain than it’s worth. I’d rather lose truthfully and move on to the next fight than expend a lot of effort to falsely win a likely temporary victory.

    Number of Social Security numbers I’ve lied about on voter registration forms: 0.

    Number of Social Security numbers Gary Fincher has lied about on registration forms: ?

    Is Gary Fincher lying? Look closely to see if his lips are moving or if he’s touching a keyboard. When it comes to lying, if personal appearance changed based on personal habit, he’d look like a rug.

  17. Straight ..........

    from one of the most irritating
    and the most honest folks I have
    ‘met’ in dirty dank politics…..
    Thomas L. Knapp // Mar 2, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    Quoth Fincher:

    “Knapp — always the biggest liar”

    on which planet —– Don Lake

  18. Straight ..........

    from the Heart of the Heart Land!

    sorry, I find SLC [Saint Louis County] Knapp has and has evolved a terrific sense of ethics and logic ……… despite our occasional disagreements (I am not slavishly devoted to his point of view and or BTP and have my own irritatingly independent view of the planet)

    Quote Fincher:
    “[Thomas] Knapp – always the biggest liar – is the biggest liar. ” —– huh?

    “I’m glad that Tom Knapp is out of the presidential race. He would have been a dreadful candidate for a variety of reasons (his lack of logic is just one of them). ” —— not in my book, and he and I have disagreed on the time of day and the day of the week!

  19. Thomas L. Knapp

    Don,

    Thanks for the defense 😉

    I happen to agree with Andy that I “would have been a dreadful candidate for a variety of reasons.”

    With respect to his logic claim, I decline to argue that with him, as I consider it beneath me to bring a big gun to bear on an unarmed opponent.

  20. Straight ..........

    from the [P2004] ‘home front’ in Southern California as regional Nader coordinator….

    “Another factor at play was that the Democrats in California (and Democrats in other states for that matter) threw a hissy fit over the idea of Ralph Nader being on the ballot for President again because they blamed Ralph Nader for throwing the 2000 election to George W. Bush. ”

    I personally got phone call after phone call from self described Democratic Party types. They were always ‘kind’ and polite, but questioned and talked at length. As they originally were not rude or abusive, I played their silly assed game[s] for a while —- then bought a phone mate.

    “So to make matters worse, some Democrats were going around harassing petitioners wh0 gathering signatures for Ralph Nader.”

    And interference in personal petitioning ???? Oh yeah! Time and time again!

  21. Straight ..........

    from an objective position!

    Thomas L. Knapp // Mar 2, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    “Don [Lake], Thanks for the defense”

    I am not universally popular so I hope it helped more than hurt. You know me well enough that I was not motivated by personal loyalty but as a commentor on what I thought or knew to be the truth!

  22. Andy

    “Thomas L. Knapp // Mar 2, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    Number of Social Security numbers I’ve lied about on voter registration forms: 0.

    Number of Social Security numbers Gary Fincher has lied about on registration forms: ?

    Is Gary Fincher lying? Look closely to see if his lips are moving or if he’s touching a keyboard. When it comes to lying, if personal appearance changed based on personal habit, he’d look like a rug.”

    This is an example of why Knapp would not make a good presidential candidate.

    1) His belief that Social(ist) (In)Security Numbers are somehow legitimate and are legally required for one to become a registered voter.

    2) His inability to understand, or his dishonesty to admitt to understanding, what lead to Gary filling in random numbers on some 10-20% of voter registration cards collected on a registration drive over 10 years ago. Joe Knight – who was 180 miles away from the closest place where the work was being done, CHANGED the “rules” half way through a registration drive which Mr. Fincher had travelled (at his own expense) to work on by saying that he was not going to pay him for any registration that lacked a Social(ist) (In)Security Number. Mr. Fincher had researched the law and found that SSNs were not legally required to become a registered voter, plus, as a hardcore Libertarian he did not believe in asking people for SSNs, however, when Mr. Knight issued this edict he could not afford to lose the money that would come from his pay being cut, and he did not consider the pay cut which Mr. Knight was threatening to be for a legitimate reason, so in a panicked situation he filled random numbers in the boxes on the 10-20% of cards that lacked them. THIS WAS NOT A CRIME BECA– USE THERE WAS NO LAW WHICH REQUIRED THOSE BOXES TO BE FILLED IN AND IN FACT IT WAS LATER ADMITTED BY THE SECRETARY OF STATE’S OFFICE THAT THE SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER WAS NOT MANDATORY. So while this may have had the appearance of looking bad to unsophisticated minds (such as the one pocessed by Tom Knapp), this was NOT an illegal or an immoral act. Strangely, Mr. Knight did NOT issue this edict about getting Social(ist) (In)Security Numbers on all voter registrations or don’t get paid for those that lack them to Scott Kohlhaas who was working on the SAME registration drive and was paid in full for all the registrations which he turned in, including the ones that lacked SSNs. Mr. Knight REF– USED to anwser questions about why he put this demand to get SSNs only on Mr. Fincher and not on Mr. Kohlhaas.

    The fact that the facts surrounding this story have been explained to Tom Knapp on numerous occassions, but he still doesn’t “get it” is a perfect example of why he should not be a candidate for President or any other office.

  23. Thomas L. Knapp

    “This is an example of why Knapp would not make a good presidential candidate.

    “1) His belief that Social(ist) (In)Security Numbers are somehow legitimate and are legally required for one to become a registered voter.”

    I suffer from no such false belief — but by all means, don’t let silly little things like facts get in the way of your nth recounting of why it’s okay for Gary Fincher to lie.

  24. Gary Fincher

    Knapp has in no way demonstrated that I have lied or did anything wrong, while continuing to be his usual disingenuous self.

    You have to do better than regurgitating things we’ve already refuted ad nauseum, to demonstrate that I’ve lied about anything. If I’ve lied, please, by all means, come up with something I’ve ever lied about. I double dare you.

  25. Gary Fincher

    Knapp: “Number of Social Security numbers I’ve lied about on voter registration forms: 0.”

    How can we be so sure of that, given Knapp’s deep propensity to be a liar?

    Logic 101.

  26. Gary Fincher

    Knapp actually lies about lying, as stunning as that is: I actually didn’t lie about any social security numbers, I told the truth about them all along, from day one. Knapp’s moves can be so comical at times.

    The bigger question is, why is Knapp such a huge Social Security proponent?

  27. Andy

    Tom Knapp said: “I suffer from no such false belief — but by all means, don’t let silly little things like facts get in the way of your nth recounting of why it’s okay for Gary Fincher to lie.”

    You must believe in Social(ist) (In)Security Numbers or else you wouldn’t be making such a big issue about it.

  28. Andy

    “Gary Fincher // Mar 3, 2010 at 10:06 am

    Knapp has in no way demonstrated that I have lied or did anything wrong, while continuing to be his usual disingenuous self.”

    BINGO!

  29. Straight ..........

    to NO BINGO!

    Andy // Mar 3, 2010 at 8:59 pm
    “Gary Fincher // Mar 3, 2010:
    Knapp has in no way demonstrated that I have lied or did anything wrong, while continuing to be his usual disingenuous self.”

    ——– Huh ?????????? Irritating yes, Disingenuous not yet! Lake

  30. Thomas L. Knapp

    “Knapp actually lies about lying, as stunning as that is: I actually didn’t lie about any social security numbers, I told the truth about them all along, from day one.”

    If that’s the case, then I apologize.

    My understanding was that you filled in false Social Security numbers — in other words, lied about what Social Security numbers were associated with what people — on voter registration forms.

    Is that understanding incorrect?

    “The bigger question is, why is Knapp such a huge Social Security proponent?”

    That’s not only a bigger question, it’s not a question at all. Since I am in no way, shape, manner or form a “proponent” of Social Security, there’s no “why” to ask.

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