OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A group that wants to make it easier for political parties to get on the Oklahoma election ballot plans to circulate an initiative petition this fall.
The group, Oklahomans for Ballot Access Reform, includes representatives of the Libertarian, Constitution and Green parties, as well as some independent voters.
The plan is to get the issue on the 2008 election ballot.
“We are looking forward to giving more choices to Oklahoma voters, and, with the help of our many supporters, we are confident it will be a success,” said Matthew R. Jones of Stillwater.
To form a new political party in Oklahoma, a group must obtain signatures of registered voters that are equal to 5 percent of the vote in the last presidential or governor's race. It would take more than 74,000 signatures, based on the total vote for governor in 2006, according to the coalition.
The proposed initiative petition would change the law to require just 5,000 signatures, which was the requirement from 1924 to 1974.
The petition also would change the requirement for a political party to stay on the Oklahoma election ballot.
A party's presidential or gubernatorial candidate must receive 10 percent of the vote to maintain official party status, the group said.
The proposed initiative petition would lower that requirement to 1 percent and apply it to all statewide races.
“Oklahoma voters are ready for more choices,” said Jones, an independent and the coalition's chairman.
“Oklahoma Democrats easily chose from among nine Democratic presidential candidates in 2004. Shouldn't voters in the general election also enjoy more than two choices?”
Adoption of the proposal would make the requirements for forming a political party more reasonable, the group said.
If voters approve the state question, Oklahoma would become the 30th state to have a 5,000-signature requirement for forming a political party in a state, said Michael Hammer of Stillwater, an independent and spokesman for the group.