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LP Oklahoma update

Wes Benedict via blog and email blast:

Thanks to our donors and more petitioners, we have continued the Oklahoma petition drive.

Since we are going forward with the drive, I need your help to pay to finish it.

Please click here to donate.

I’d especially like to thank Michael Chastain, of Austin, Texas, for mailing a $4,000 check towards the Oklahoma petition drive. His quick response to my last email for support (telling me a check was on the way) gave me the energy to push forward.

About three weeks ago, I wrote about the serious help we needed for Oklahoma.

After trying to avoid the cost of a trip to Oklahoma, I finally decided I needed to visit Oklahoma to see the petition drive directly. I needed to see if I thought things could be improved, or if I thought we should just shut it down.

We had been hearing about how hard it was to find petitioners and good places to petition, among other problems, and I wanted to take a closer look at all aspects of the petition drive for myself. Our ballot access committee chair, William Redpath, had been urging me to go for several days.

I finally went to Oklahoma, and here’s what I found:

  • We had a great organizer in Oklahoma, the OKLP Vice Chair, Tina Kelly.
  • The alleged stack of over 11,000 signatures actually existed and appeared to be legitimate. (Not that I had serious doubts, but it’s always good to see them for yourself.)
  • Tina’s son had recently put the registered voter database online to help with verifying the signatures.
  • The LP Kentucky’s former state chair, Ken Moellman, was ready to help more with the registered voters database.
  • There was an ice storm the day I arrived, but of course we weren’t going to be able to do anything about the weather.
  • We didn’t have near enough petitioners collecting signatures.
  • One of our professional petitioners, Paul Frankel, was willing to help get more petitioners on the job, but needed some help getting a makeshift office running in his motel room.

We can hope for help on the legal front, we can hope for good weather, and we can hope that more places would allow us to petition on their properties, but I did not want to count on any of that.

It was clear to me that what we need to do more than anything was to recruit a lot more paid petitioners to help out. And we were going to have to raise the budget to get the drive done in time. Our emails like this, as well as many phone calls to recruit petitioners are working.

Paul Frankel sums things up well:

“We are also starting to make some good progress on replacing the petitioners that left Oklahoma, with several new petitioners recruited, on their way, considering coming, and in one case already back with reinforcements. And, we are starting to make some progress on the legal front to address the harassment at public places where we have a Constitutional right to petition.”

I can confirm what Paul says. In just three weeks we’ve recruited enough new petitioners so that we’ve gone from averaging about 1,000 signatures per week for the first 16 weeks, to over 3,000 signatures per week for the past three weeks. That’s what we needed to do.

To help, you can reach Paul by phone or text at 205-534-1622, or (You don’t have to be from Oklahoma, but travel expenses are not reimbursed.)

The Libertarian National Committee held a special meeting last Monday just for Oklahoma, and they decided to continue the drive. But they had to raise the budget by $20,000 for the effort. That increase in the budget hurts. Some people have asked if it is worth it, and I understand the concern. We don’t have extra money lying around.

Ballot access expert Richard Winger notes that the Libertarian Party has had success lowering ballot access retention requirements in 28 states in the last 40 years (Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming). He says it’s helpful for us to get on the ballot in states like Oklahoma for when it comes time to lobby them for reduced requirements. Richard Winger contributed $30,000 himself for this petition drive.

We need to get this done, and quickly, so we can focus on other states.

Thanks again goes to all of our previous donors.

Will you help us reach our online fundraising goal for Oklahoma today?

Click here to donate, or visit


Wes Benedict, Executive Director

IPR note:

Here’s the full email draft that I sent, part of which Wes used for the blast above:

Two weeks ago Wes Benedict wrote to inform you all that we need your urgent help in Oklahoma. We’re not out of the woods yet but I am happy to report that since then we have raised $11,500 to help cover the expenses of the petition drive that ran over our projections. Thank you to those of you who contributed! We are also starting to make some good progress on replacing the petitioners that left Oklahoma, with several new petitioners recruited, on their way, considering coming, and in one case already back with reinforcements. And, we are starting to make some progress on the legal front to address the harassment at public places where we have a Constitutional right to petition.

The weather has been unusually nice so far, but winter is coming, so we can’t relax just yet. We’re looking for more people who are willing to come to Oklahoma (if you aren’t here already) and help us petition. We would certainly love to have more volunteers, but we recognize that most people can’t afford to take a week or several out of their lives and pay for travel, hotels, food, gas and bills back home with no pay. The current rate we are offering is $2.50 per signature; you do not have to be from Oklahoma to petition here. Unfortunately, there are no additional travel expenses, so it’s at your own risk.

If the idea of hitting the road and asking strangers for signatures sounds too daunting to you, or you just don’t have the money to live on on such a trip until you get paid or the luxury of taking the time off from a long term job or other situation you are in, we are also looking for help with things like calling stores to help get permission for locations for petitioners, pro bono legal help, media publicity, temporary housing for petitioners (for anyone reading who lives in Oklahoma and is willing to put up our road crew), and other things I haven’t thought of yet. Please feel free to give me a call or text at 205-534-1622, email me at or hit me up on facebook,

Oh yeah, Wes wants me to remind you that if you haven’t donated to Oklahoma ballot access yet or if you can afford to help us out again, we still need some help on that front too.

Thanks again, and hope to see and hear from some of you soon
Paul Frankel
Ballot Access Committee
On the ground in Oklahoma City


  1. paulie paulie December 18, 2015

    I’m not aware of the LNC ever using earmarked ballot access money for other purposes. On the other hand, I am aware of some state parties that have in the past. I don’t know if OKLP even has a way to earmark money at all; as far as I know they don’t.

  2. Nicholas Sarwark Nicholas Sarwark December 18, 2015

    I don’t know about previous petition drives, but every dollar that comes in for the Oklahoma drive goes back out the door to pay for petitioning. If the drive is successfully completed, money from the Oklahoma fund will be used for other ballot access petitioning in 2016.

  3. paulie paulie December 17, 2015

    Any money donated at goes to a fund that is not used for other purposes. You can also donate at but I don’t see any options there except for paypal, whereas has a variety of ways you can give such as debit/credit cards etc.

  4. Andy Andy December 17, 2015

    I’ve seen the LNC screw a lot of things up over the years. The money is supposed to go to the LP petition drive in Oklahoma, so it makes sense to bypass the middleman and send the donation straight to the LP of Oklahoma.

  5. paulie paulie December 17, 2015

    People should definitely donate to the Oklahoma LP, especially if they have already contributed the legal maximum to the LNC.

  6. paulie paulie December 17, 2015

    and that makes it an even $20,000 that has been raised

    Thank you!

  7. Mike K Mike K December 17, 2015

    Andy, why is that? As a potential donor I’d like to know.

  8. steve m steve m December 17, 2015

    and that makes it an even $20,000 that has been raised

  9. steve m steve m December 17, 2015

    Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more

  10. Andy Andy December 17, 2015

    I strongly urge everyone who donates for the LP ballot access drive in Oklahoma to NOT send their donation to the LNC, but rather to send your donation to the Libertarian Party of Oklahoma.

  11. paulie paulie December 17, 2015

    Thank you!

  12. George Whitfield George Whitfield December 17, 2015

    Thanks for the update. I donated today.

Comments are closed.