Libertarian Party: Ending Oklahoma paid petition drive substantially on January 17th


Email from Wes Benedict:

Attention petitioners, Libertarian National Committee, and Libertarian Party of Oklahoma: the deadline for paid petitioning in Oklahoma at $2.50 per signature is January 17. We are almost out of money and have almost reached our targets.

Thanks to a great effort by many petitioners, we are close to hitting our approximate target of around 38,000 signatures paid for by the Libertarian National Committee and Libertarian Party of Oklahoma. We will come close to reaching that target on January 17.

Petitioners will have four days after January 17 to get their signatures turned in to Tina Kelly, the petition organizer in Oklahoma. You will not get paid $2.50 per signature for signatures collected after January 17.

We may be short a a few hundred or a few thousand signatures. We may hire a few people to continue collecting signatures at $1.50 per signature after January 17 perhaps for several days. If you are interested in collecting signatures for $1.50 after January 17 for a limited amount of time, please contact Tina Kelly and get approval for that in advance.

Thanks for your great work on this petition drive.

This email is approved for release to others, including the public.


Wes Benedict, Executive Director
Libertarian National Committee, Inc.
1444 Duke St., Alexandria, VA 22314
(202) 333-0008 ext. 232, @LPNational
Join the Libertarian Party at:

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About Caryn Ann Harlos

Caryn Ann Harlos is a paralegal residing in Castle Rock, Colorado and presently serving as the Region 1 Representative on the Libertarian National Committee and is a candidate for LNC Secretary at the 2018 Libertarian Party Convention. Articles posted should NOT be considered the opinions of the LNC nor always those of Caryn Ann Harlos personally. Caryn Ann's goal is to provide information on items of interest and (sometimes) controversy about the Libertarian Party and minor parties in general not to necessarily endorse the contents.

48 thoughts on “Libertarian Party: Ending Oklahoma paid petition drive substantially on January 17th

  1. Shivany Lane

    That is awesome! Where is the next petition drive going to take place? When I was going to do ours for Cyber Party I was all over the map trying to figure out which ones would be easiest, quickest and nail down some kind of scheduled plan. Thankfully, with John joining the Libertarians, I can just join in on one of your drives if possible.

    Let’s make all 50 states this year! And no I was never a cheerleader in school 🙂

  2. Andy

    I hope they have enough signatures to survive a validity check.

    If I were still in Oklahoma, I’d be very angry about the prospect of having the pay reduced to $1.50, and I would quit working on it. If I were a person who travels for petition work, I’d leave for another state as there are multiple states that have much higher paying petition drives right now. If I were a local person in Oklahoma, I’d go find other work. The job was difficult enough at $2.50, and $1.50 is a joke of a pay rate. It is 2016, not 1996.

    I think they are cutting it close myself on signatures. If this thing fails, blame the LNC, because it will be their fault.

  3. NewFederalist

    “I think they are cutting it close myself on signatures. If this thing fails, blame the LNC, because it will be their fault.” – Andy

    Of course!

  4. Andy

    The current petition signature requirement for party status in Oklahoma is 24,745. The signatures are checked by the county election offices. Extra signatures need to be collected to survive the validity check.

    Right now, I’d say it is on a slim margin as to whether or not the LP of OK will survive the state’s validity check. I could see it going either way.

  5. steve m


    Today is the 12th there are five days from now to the 17th when the signature rate will drop from $2.50 to $1.50 why is that not sufficient notice?

  6. steve m

    it looks like there are about 34,000 signatures with about 4000 per week being added so you could expect to have about 38,000 by the 17th.

    If you need 25,000 you have 13,000 extra or you need a 66% good signature rate to be successful.

  7. Andy Craig

    My understanding is that OK is a pretty hard-count state on validity, but a validity rate of less than 66% seems unlikely to me. What were some comparable validity rates on OK petitions in the past?

    Also, the deadline isn’t until March if I recall correctly. So, there is still plenty of time left.

  8. Andy

    $1.50 is a bullshit pay rate that is not inline with what petition deals are paying in other states right now.

    How about if somebody tells you that they are going to cut your pay by 40%, four days from now (assuming that you work for a living)? How would you like that?

    How about instead of cutting the pay to the petition circulators in Oklahoma, how about cutting the pay of the LNC office staffers? Let’s see how they like that.

    I have spoken to multiple attorneys about this, and it is a violation of independent contractor law to lure a contractor in to work a job for a certain pay rate, and to then lower the rate on them while they are working the job.

    Regardless of this, it is also an insult to the people who are collecting the signatures. Oklahoma is a more difficult than average state for gathering signatures, plus weather is getting colder, and the petition is more burned out, as in more people in Oklahoma have already signed, thus making it more difficult to get the remaining signatures.

    If anything, the pay to the petition circulators should go higher.

    Anyone who continues working after the rate goes down is a sucker, and anyone who thinks that this is a “cool” way to treat people is an asshole.

  9. Andy

    The latest I have heard is that the validity is estimated to be at 65% (according to internal LP sample checks), but a lot of this depends on how the state does the check.

    This is a closer margin than what most petition proponents would want.

  10. steve m


    You are just whining. 5 days is reasonable notice. It gives petitioners time to collect a few thousand more and get paid the full rate for them.

    The deadline is March 1, 2016 so 6 weeks? So if they turn them in and the Election Officials take a couple of weeks to process them then you still have time to collect a couple of thousand more with a smaller team.

  11. steve m

    §26-1-108. Formation of new political parties.
    A group of persons may form a recognized political party at any time except during the period between March 1 and November 15 of any even-numbered year if the following procedure is observed:
    1. Notice of intent to form a recognized political party must be filed in writing with the Secretary of the State Election Board at any time except during the period between March 1 and November 15 of any even-numbered year;
    2. After such notice is filed, petitions seeking recognition of a political party, in a form to be prescribed by the Secretary of the State Election Board, shall be filed with such Secretary, bearing the signatures of registered voters equal to at least three percent (3%) of the total votes cast in the last General Election for Governor. Each page of such petitions must contain the names of registered voters from a single county. Petitions may be circulated a maximum of one (1) year after notice is filed, provided that petitions shall be filed with the Secretary no later than March 1 of an even-numbered year. Such petitions shall not be circulated between March 1 and November 15 of any even-numbered year; and
    3. Within thirty (30) days after receipt of such petitions, the State Election Board shall determine the sufficiency of such petitions. If such Board determines there are a sufficient number of valid signatures of registered voters, the party becomes recognized under the laws of the State of Oklahoma with all rights and obligations accruing thereto.
    Added by Laws 1974, c. 153, § 1-108, operative Jan. 1, 1975. Amended by Laws 1985, c. 269, § 1; Laws 2003, c. 485, § 1; Laws 2004, c. 53, § 6, emerg. eff. April 1, 2004; Laws 2011, c. 196, § 3, eff. Nov. 1, 2011; Laws 2015, c. 311, § 1, eff. Nov. 1, 2015.

  12. Jed Ziggler

    Andy, I took the OP to mean that the drive is pretty much done. I.E. they really don’t care if you get pissed off and go home, they have what they need and any future signatures collected are just gravy.

  13. Nicholas Sarwark

    Oklahoma is a single turn-in state. Turn-in will likely be in February.

    The $1.50 rate is not intended to attract petitioners. it, combined with the deadline, is intended to stop the petition drive as it is projected to be done by January 17. The $1.50 is intended as a softer stop than telling petitioners that no signatures will be paid for at all after January 17th. The hard stop is February 18, as petition signatures turned in after that date will not be paid for at all.

    Andy is correct that the LNC (and more specifically myself and Mr. Benedict) should be blamed if the petition drive in Oklahoma fails. I’m sure that he will apply the same logic should the drive be a success.

  14. paulie

    Andy, 34,887 signatures are in the spreadsheet, not counting the ones Tina has not yet gave me or the ones she did not receive yet herself. Weather is really nice again, I was in shorts and T shirt today and 38,000 by the 17th is looking likely. If not, they can always extend it by a few days. No one is being lured in. I am advising everyone who calls me now not to come here, and even the locals I am telling not to start at this point unless they think it is worth their time to work less than a week. Anyone who called me after you left and they gave me the organizer deal was clearly told that it would probably end in January, could go into February or could even end in December but would most likely end some time in January. Everyone was told that they would be given 96 hours notice. That has now been done. If the party chooses to have a separate contract for a smaller number of signatures at a lower rate and if some people choose to work on it that will be between them. I may or may not be one of them. My organizer deal is over on the 17th.

    It is simply not true that you were told that validity is 65%. I’ve talked with you several times and told you that it is 69 and change using the 20% check and 73 and change using the 100 percent check. More specifically 3,476 signatures checked at 100% have a 73.25% validity rate and 12,654 signatures are in batches checked at 20% with a validity rate of 69.05%.

  15. Andy

    When I spoke to Paul earlier in the day he said 65%. This is where I got that figure. Paul later revised that figure in a later conversation.

    Maybe the LP will qualify for the ballot in Oklahoma, and that will be great if it does. It is a closer margin than most groups who do petition drive would feel comfortable having, but hopefully the party makes it.

    Even if the party does make it, it has still been a poorly run drive on multiple levels.

    Also, as for asking people to continue working for $1.50, which is a 40% pay cut, yeah, that’s. a bullshit thing to do.

    There are higher paying petition drives in multiple states, so anyone collecting signatures there would be smart to leave, and even for those who are unable to travel, they should not do it out of principle.

    Nice way to show appreciation for your workers. “Hey, thanks for collecting signatures for us. Now will you continue working for a 40% pay cut?”

    There’s an NBA team in Oklahoma City called The Thunder. I have not followed basketball in a long time, so I do not know who any of the players are. This would be like if the owner of the Oklahoma Thunder went to the players and said, “Thanks for playing with us, but since basketball season is almost over, I am going to cut your pay by 40% for the remainder of the season.” Would this fly in the NBA? I think not.

    If a sports team operated in the same manner as the Libertarian Party operates, it would be a losing team.

  16. Jed Ziggler

    Again, I don’t see them asking anybody to continue working. If you choose to, they’ll pay you $1.50. I don’t see why that’s so hard to understand. Am I misreading this somehow?

  17. steve m

    This sounds more like… if you are sitting on signatures turn them in now because they are going to lose value quickly. Yes they are telling signature collectors it is about time to move on. After the job is done the job is over and the pay stops.

    Could the job have been run better? Probably… hopefully the ballot access committee will do a follow up report.

    Petitioning in Oklahoma is going to be an every 4 year task. To retain recognized party status the Party Candidate for President and the Party Candidate for Governor have to break 10% of the votes cast.

  18. Ambrose Jackson

    Wow. You people treat Andy like shit. It sounds like he busts his balls and you give him no respect and very little pay. You all ought to be ashamed of your actions.

  19. Andy

    Jed, it is an insult. It is a sign of disrespect. You can tell a lot about somebody’s character in the way that they treat their workers. This has NEVER been a standard operating procedure in the world of petition drives. The few times something like this has been done, it has been done by a slimey mercenary petition coordinator who was trying to pocket some extra money. Basically a scumbag.

    I’d expect higher standards out of the Libertarian Party than emulating some low life, sleazeball mercenary scumbag petition coordinator.

    Even so, note that dropping the pay at the end of the drive is NOT a standard operating procedure even among the political mercenaries of the petitioning world.

    They should have some honor and either pay $2.50 or shut the drive down and say they are finished. Stop treating the petition workers like they are dirt that they can walk over whenever they feel like it.

  20. George Phillies

    20:02 Steve Perhaps some day the Ballot Access *Committee* will do a report on something. The so-called ballot access committee reports at past LNC meetings were never seen let alone accepted by the ballot access *committee* prior to being presented to the LNC.

  21. Andy

    Ambrose, I suspect that Jill is right and that you are a troll who is trying to stir up trouble.

    I am not in Oklahoma. I left Oklahoma weeks ago for higher paying work.

    I probably should have left sooner than I did. The reason that I staid as long as I did was mostly out of loyalty to the party and cause.

    Yeah, I have done a hell of a lot for the party and the cause, and not received much in the way of recognition or thanks, but that’s not why I am involved anyway. I am in it because I want freedom, and I am in it to win it.

    If I was just a total mercenary, or just out yo make money in general, I would not be involved in this stuff at all, or my only involvement would be to make money, and in either case, I’d have a lot more money right now.

  22. Andy

    George hit the nail on the head with the LNC’s Ballot Access Committee. It is a do nothing farce.

  23. Ambrose Jackson

    I am not a troll. That is a slur that the Neocons are using on this site to justify censoring my comments.

  24. Steve m


    I am hoping more for a specific post mortem on the Oklahoma project. I actually think Paulie for example should be paid to collect info from the petitioners, the state workers and volunteers, the green party, the marijuana initiative, the lnc staff. And from Andy. And write a report to include analysis. You George might be a fine reviewer for such a study.

    We need to know what worked, what didn’t, what should have been done. What the budget for such a drive should be. How the project should be managed.

    We will be doing this again. What are the best practices?

  25. Andy

    Paul and I have already put out all of the information that Steve is requesting, multiple times right here on IPR.

    Also, the Green Party was really a non-factor in all of this. I heard they got a very tiny number of volunteer signatures, and that’s it.

  26. Steve m

    Andy, you did put out a lot of ideas. But I am asking for a lot more. I would like to know if the signature database includes. Who got the signature, where and when. Then we could test your hypothesis that libertarian petitioners are more effective than mercenary collectors. There should be wealth of data and if there isn’t than we need to make changes and do so for verifiable reasons.

  27. paulie

    When I spoke to Paul earlier in the day he said 65%. This is where I got that figure. Paul later revised that figure in a later conversation.

    Nope. What I said is that the LNC is paying for enough signatures that it can go down as far as 65%. I told you several times over the course of several days or weeks that our own checks are showing 69% and 73% with 20% and 100% batch checks respectively, and those numbers have been holding pretty steady for a while now.

  28. paulie

    I agree with Steve M and a postmorterm will be forthcoming. I doubt I will be paid to help with it though, so if I write it will be as a volunteer, unless someone wants to pay me to write it, which would be great but I don’t expect it to happen.

  29. Andy

    Steve, if the party had its act together petitioning in Oklahoma would not be an every 4 years task. It would either be:

    1) The Libertarian Party meets the vote test in Oklahoma in every election, so it does not have to do a petition, but even so, the Libertarian Party of Oklahoma still hires people to gather voter registrations, do door-to-door canvassing, staff outreach tables, etc…


    2) The Libertarian Party does a petition drive in Oklahoma every 2 years, so it can offer the people of Oklahoma a Libertarian choice in every election.

    The Libertarian Party should have over 100,000 dues paying members by now, and the national party should be able to raise $10-$20 million per year. The bigger state parties like California, Texas, and Florida should all have state party budgets of a few million dollars a year. The Libertarian Party should already control several local governments, and the party should have a Libertarian block of legislators in several states. Heck, we should gave even one or two or three Libertarians in the US House by now.

    Stop thinking small. Think big.

  30. Steve m

    Should have, could have, would have…. If wishes were ponies…

    I live life by looking at where I am, where do I want to be, what resources do I have and then come up with a plan to use the resources to achieve goals.

    At this time the goal is to get the libertarian Presidential candidate on the ballot in all 50 states and DC. I would be thrilled if that candidate got 10% of the vote in Oklahoma but I don’t think that is likely.

    So sure if resources allow repeat the Oklahoma petition drive in 2 or 4 years. So how to do it in less time with fewer resources and for less money.

    Capturing the lesson learned this time and applying them next time seems reasonable.

    If the lnc had a project to do a postmortem on this effort I would donate to that project.

  31. Andy

    The petition drive in Oklahoma is not going to be done for less money unless you could greatly increase the amount of signatures collected by unpaid volunteers.

    The LP has done Oklahoma on the cheap this time. Anyone who thinks that the LP spent a lot of money on the current ballot access drive in Oklahoma knows nothing about ballot access.

  32. Steve m

    Andy, bipolar? The LP did Oklahoma as cheap as it could be done? But it could of been done better? You do realize you messages conflict?

  33. Andy

    Yes, it could have been done better, but I doubt that it could have been done much cheaper. It was already done on the cheap.

    Most of what the LP does, it does poorly. Most of the ballot access drives that the LP does, it does stupidly (with only rare exceptions, and none of those exceptions are because of the LNC, they are in spite of the LNC).

  34. steve m


    The whole point of a postmortem of a project is to increase doing what is smart and decrease doing what is stupid. Ah am of the opinion that costs go down when you do less of the stupid and more of the smart.

  35. steve m

    “The petition drive in Oklahoma is not going to be done for less money unless you could greatly increase the amount of signatures collected by unpaid volunteers.”

    So the paid petitioners would not lower their rates if you could improve their productivity?

  36. Andy

    How many Libertarians worked on the LP registration drive Maine? ZERO. (Note that this drive is in court now, costing the party thousands in legal fees, because they FAILED to get enough registrations processed by the deadline, even though they had a good six months plus to complete the drive, which was not that difficult to do.)

    How many Libertarians worked on the petition drive in South Dakota (which may or may not still be happening)? ZERO.

    How many Libertarians worked on the petition drive in Oklahoma? Well, when I was there, two, including myself. Paul was the other one. After I left, Paul barely collected any signatures due to not having a steady person with whom he could ride. He mostly sat inside doing office type work after I left. One Libertarian came in and collected a small number of signatures, the some LP of OK members collected a very small number of signatures, but that’s it. Most of the signatures in Oklahoma were collected by non-libertarian mercenaries. Any actual Libertarian activism that took place on this drive came from one person, which is me.

    If you are a Libertarian Party member and you think that. this situation is acceptable, or even preferable, then you deserve to be permanently barred from ever holding office in the party, and from being a candidate for the party.

  37. paulie

    Steve M,

    Me too.

    And I will be doing a postmortem anyway. I expect Wes Benedict may as well, but I don’t know. Wes has a lot of other responsibilities at his job and Oklahoma ate up a lot of his time already when he was already overburdened as it was.

    In any case, I don’t expect a nontrivial likelihood that the LNC will pay me to write one, so if you want to make a direct contribution that will allow me to devote more time to writing it than I would be able to otherwise, I can provide details on how to send me money, and I would appreciate your help. If you don’t want to send me money, I’ll do what I can as a volunteer. If anyone else wants to send me money, write me at and we can discuss details of how and where to send it. How much is entirely up to you.

  38. Andy

    I need to rephrase something. What I meant to say above was that only a very small handful of people engaged in any Libertarian field activism during the LP of OK petition drive, and that I am the one who did the most of this.

  39. Ken Moellman

    The LP Oklahoma drive has been interesting. I’ve been helping on a volunteer basis in validating signatures, and have been helping other volunteers do the same. We brought 2 specific tools from the LPKY toolbox; a tool to help create walking lists, and a tool to speed-up the validation process.

    I had hoped to achieve 100% validation, but we haven’t quite get the volunteers to make that happen. The 100% check could continue after the end of paid petitioning. And there are good reasons to do that, chief among them being that we need to be creating metrics. If we create metrics, we can learn how to do things smarter in the future. Also, we could find a true hard count of how we’re doing, and if we’re short, then we can make sure we remedy that.

    In 2014, when we put Patterson on the ballot for US Senate, we did a 100% validity check. We know we had 5,744 clean signatures (of 5,000 required). So when the media called me (as the state chair of LPKY at the time) and told me the Republicans were going to challenge our petition, my response was “awesome, bring it.” We were also able to find out which mechanisms, locations, etc. to collect signatures maximized our petitioning efforts. We paid on validated signature, rather than raw signature, which gave us the ability to completely control the budget. There are lots of good reasons to collect and use these metrics. Save money, maximize efficiency, ensure success.

    If you’re a Libertarian (this is only open to Libertarians) and want to help with the petition validation process, please feel free to contact me using the directions at … I only have directions written up for Windows and Linux users. If you’re tech savvy, then you’re good no matter what. If you’re not tech savvy, I can only help with Windows and Linux. (I also need to get directions written up for the partial statistical check…) The Voter Validator is fast — I can validate a signature every 25 seconds or so. (The next couple of revisions will make it even faster!) I’ve personally plowed through almost 2500 signatures. My wrists are a bit achy as a result, so I’ve taken a break for a while. Heh.

  40. paulie

    Ken has been a tremendous help to the Oklahoma petition drive and to me personally. Most appreciated! He’s one of our top volunteers, and he is not even here. Everything from helping me get the laptop working properly to getting the validity checks much further along…Ken Moellman has spent (at least) hundreds of hours on the phone and computer helping us out. I wish we had more people like that!

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