Dr Edward Shadid, who is running as an Independent for House District 85, took out a full-page ad in the Gazette this week to grumble about this state’s excessively-cumbersome ballot access:
There are no other democracies in the world in which only two political parties compete and who so aggressively conspire to erect Herculean obstacles to participation by competing parties. Oklahoma has been widely described as having the most restrictive election and ballot access policies in the country. An alternative party would need 73,102 valid signatures to get on the ballot, and since many signatures are typically thrown out, in practical terms roughly 100,000 signatures would be required. Given an average petition cost of $1/signature, a party would need $100,000 for that election just to get on the ballot.
The numbers vary slightly from year to year, but this is basically the same noise I’ve been trying to make on this subject for several years now. The last time there was any legislative action on ballot access was last year’s HB 1072, which passed the House 86-5 and the Senate 46-0, and then mysteriously disappeared into a conference committee. The last mention of it on the legislative Web site was 23 February 2010:
Conference granted, SCs named Brogdon, Lamb, Reynolds, Burrage, Johnson (Mike), Schulz, Marlatt
The bill hasn’t been seen since.
Shadid, incidentally, is running as an Independent because he can’t run as a Green because the Greens can’t get on the ballot in this state.
District 85 incumbent David Dank, who ran for this seat after his wife Odilia ran up against the term-limits wall (stop me if you’ve heard this one), has drawn a GOP primary challenge from Aaron Kaspereit, who seems to be running slightly to Dank’s left but still to the right of center. Gail Vines, last seen embroiled in the Joe Quigley case at Oklahoma City Public Schools, is the Democratic opponent. I still think Dank wins this one, but there’s no reason he should just have it handed to him.