Oklahomans for Ballot Access Reform

From Oklahoma

Oklahomans for Ballot Access Reform is a coalition of members from the Oklahoma Libertarian Party, the Green Party of Oklahoma, and the Oklahoma Constitution Party, along with independents and members of the major parties. The organization seeks to reform Oklahoma's ballot access rules to provide easier access to the ballot by third parties.

OBAR began in the late 1990's to counter what it called the "worst ballot access laws in the nation," but died out in 2002. The organization was revived by James M. Branum and Chris Powell in 2004. Today the organization is a coalition with membership mostly from the Libertarian and Green Parties. OBAR's coordinator is David Splinter.

Oklahoma's ballot access law was changed in 1974, grandfathering in the two major parties: "Recognized political parties shall include parties whose candidates' names appeared on the General Election ballot in 1974, and those parties which shall be formed according to law."[1]

In 1976, the American Party presidential candidate, Thomas Anderson, went to court because Oklahoma's ballot access laws kept him off the ballot.[2] In the 1984 Libertarian Party v. Oklahoma State Election Board case, US District Judge Lee West said Oklahoma's ballot access law is "more severe" than in any other state and violates the Libertarian Party's First Amendment right of political association, as well as the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.[3]

Three ballot access reform bills[4] have been introduced since 1999.[5] OBAR's most recent bill (HB 1429, introduced by Rep. Marian Cooksey-R) failed in the 2005 legislative session when the House Rules Committee chair refused to allow the bill to be heard. The organization has gotten positive press in the local media,[6] including a supportive editorial in the largest statewide newspaper, The_Oklahoman.

For the 2007 legislative session, another reform bill has been requested in both houses of the legislature by Rep. Cooksey and Sen. Brodgon (R-Owasso).

OBAR also organized a None of the Above campaign in 2004, where Oklahoma voters were encouraged to leave the Presidential ballot line blank to protest Oklahoma being the only state in which there were only two choices on the Presidential ballot.


  1. ^ http://www.oscn.net/applications/oscn/DeliverDocument.asp?CiteID=78365
  2. ^ http://www.oscn.net/applications/oscn/DeliverDocument.asp?CiteID=47254
  3. ^ http://www.oklp.org/1984.html
  4. ^ http://www.oklp.org/obar/resources.html
  5. ^ http://web.archive.org/web/20030604041924/http://www.ballot-access.org/1999/0306.html#06
  6. ^ http://www.oklp.org/obar/press.htm

External links

   * OKVoterChoice.org
   * Ballot Access News
Personal tools