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Third-party Oklahoma voters seek easier ballot access

Those attending a rally ask lawmakers to ease requirements to get a third party on the state's ballot.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Published: October 9, 2012

The spirit of the law was to prevent frivolous candidates from getting on the ballot,” Harris said. “We should not be keeping constitutionally qualified candidates off the ballot in an attempt to simply foster and continue to prop up the two-party system. The people deserve the ability to vote for the candidate of their choice.”

Bebo said the issue goes beyond party politics.

“Candidates should not win simply because of who they keep off the ballot,” she said. “They should win on their own merit.”

“End the two-party dictatorship,” read a sign carried by Anissa Beasinger, a Republican from Oklahoma City.

“We only get Democratic and Republican candidates on the ballot to vote for,” she said.

To have names placed on state ballots, a political party has to get signatures of registered voters that equal at least 5 percent of the votes cast for the office at the top of the previous ticket, or for this year, the total votes cast in the 2010 gubernatorial race. The party needed 51,739 valid signatures.

The Libertarian Party earlier this year turned in about 56,000 signatures, of which 41,070 were determined to be registered voters. Americans Elect turned in about 90,000 signatures. It was determined 68,424 signatures were registered voters.

“It is very, very hard to collect signatures,” said Richard Prawdzienski, of Edmond, an independent candidate for the state Senate District 41 seat. “We need to change the ballot access laws.”

He said he is hoping legislation can be filed next year to relax the ballot access requirements.

Zachary Knight, of Newcastle, suggested those attending the rally to protest the state's ballot access laws by not voting for either the Republican or Democratic presidential candidate.

Dax Ewbank, of Oklahoma City, who failed to get recognized as a delegate to the GOP national convention during this summer's Oklahoma Republican Party Convention, said Oklahomans should have more choice than voting for a Democrat or a Republican.

“In Oklahoma you can have any candidate you want as long as it's red or blue,” he said.