Oklahoma returns to a two-party state

State election officials vote to no longer recognize the Americans Elect Party because it failed to field a presidential candidate this year. Organizers got nearly 70,000 signatures of registered voters earlier this year to get recognized as a political party in Oklahoma.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Published: December 5, 2012

The Americans Elect Party had a short run in Oklahoma.

Several months after getting enough petitions to be recognized as a political party in the state, Oklahoma election officials voted Tuesday to no longer recognize it because it didn't field a candidate in the November general election.

Their decision leaves the Republican and Democratic parties as the only two recognized political parties to field candidates for partisan county, state and federal offices, including president.

Organizers of the political party in March succeeded in getting enough signatures of registered voters to have the party recognized, but then national party officials failed to nominate a presidential and vice presidential candidate.

State law requires that a political party's nominees for governor or presidential electors must receive at least 10 percent of the total votes cast for either office in a general election.

“The 10 percent requirement … is applicable to all recognized political parties, and a party's decision not to field candidates at a general election does not vary the requirement,” wrote senior Assistant Attorney General Neal Leader in a memorandum to the Election Board.

The Oklahoma Americans Elect Party tried to get the Libertarian Party's presidential and vice presidential candidates listed as their candidates on the Oklahoma ballot, but the state Supreme Court ruled in September that the state group never was authorized to act on behalf of the national party.

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