Third-party presidential and vice presidential candidates won't appear on Oklahoma ballot

The attorney general's office advises state election officials not to place the Libertarian Party presidential and vice presidential candidates on the Nov. 6 ballot. An Oklahoma group of the Americans Elect Party sought to have those names listed as Americans Elect Party candidates.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Published: August 29, 2012
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“Our staff will be working through the weekend,” Ziriax said.

Ballots could be sent to the printers as early as Tuesday, he said. State election officials have to send ballots by early September to printers in order to get them mailed to military members and others living in other countries by Sept. 21, or 45 days before the Nov. 6 election, to comply with federal law.

Ziriax sought the attorney general's office advice after Lawhorn submitted his party's seven electors for the presidential election; a day earlier, Kahil Byrd, a director of the Americans Elect Party, wrote Oklahoma election officials that the party is withdrawing its ballot line on the Nov. 6 ballot and is terminating its status as a qualified party in Oklahoma.

Lawhorn said members of the newly formed Oklahoma American Elect Party met earlier and agreed to have Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson and his vice presidential running mate, James Gray, listed as their party's nominees.

A Libertarian candidate hasn't been on Oklahoma's presidential ballot since 2000. In 2004 and 2008, Oklahoma was the only state that had only Democratic and Republican presidential candidates. Write-in candidates are not allowed.

Americans Elect Party officials planned to hold the first-ever online nominating convention to select a president-and-vice president ticket, but the idea evaporated when no candidates stepped forward to run.

Americans Elect Party officials decided in June to suspend their plans. Lawhorn said he was contacted by Johnson's campaign about a month later about considering listing Johnson as the Americans Elect Party's presidential candidate in Oklahoma.

Efforts to obtain political party status this year in Oklahoma for the Libertarian Party came up short. 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.

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