5 September 2004
The ballot of Johnny and George
KGOU's Oklahoma Voices program devoted half an hour this week to the onerous task third parties and independents face trying to get on the November ballot in this state. Representatives of the Libertarian and Green parties were in attendance; Richard Winger of Ballot Access News was on the phone from San Francisco. Winger's figures as of today show the Libertarians on 43 state ballots and the Greens on 27, though as of this writing neither of them will be on the Oklahoma ballot.
I did learn a few things from this program. For one, while ballot access in this state has always been difficult, it became much more so after 1968, when George Wallace managed to pull 46 electoral votes and almost 13 percent of the popular vote nationwide. And a spokesman for the state Election Board points out that there's always the question of stalking horses: for instance, there was widespread suspicion in 2000 that Republicans were providing sub rosa support to Ralph Nader's campaign, on the basis that Nader could draw away votes from the Democratic candidate. The Libertarian official noted that it's the job of the electorate, not the Election Board, to determine whether a candidate is someone else's sock puppet.
Richard Winger has noted elsewhere that the Oklahoma law is going to have to be reexamined next year. Last month, the state Supreme Court ordered that a candidate for Congress be placed on the ballot as an Independent despite that candidate's Republican registration; the Tenth Circuit has previously ruled that states may not require specific (or even any) registration for Congressional candidates, so at the very least this clause will be struck. Says Winger:
Since the legislature must pass a ballot access bill on this subject, perhaps other helpful provisions could be added.
Helpful, and long overdue, if you ask me.Posted at 4:41 PM to Soonerland