With the inclusion of Gary Johnson — Libertarian candidate for president — on the Oklahoma ballot in November, state leaders should explore reform efforts to Oklahoma's antiquated and constrictive ballot access laws. Recent ballot initiatives by the Oklahoma Libertarian Party — requiring nearly 60,000 signatures — were ultimately invalided by the state Election Board due to more than 10,000 signatures belonging to voters whose addresses didn't properly reflect their current residency. While any ballot initiative should be verified by the Election Board, the sheer volume of signatures required for a third party stifles political participation, intelligent debate and civic engagement. A number of state legislators in recent years have filed bills to lower the signature requirement, but these rarely are given a committee assignment and therefore are legislative dead ends.
If the Legislature truly cares about promoting democratic governance, Oklahomans deserve more than a broken two-party system that for too long has divided, and not united, Oklahoma voters.
Jon Marshall, Edmond
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