Thursday, January 12, 2017

OK Bill to Let Independent Presidential Candidates Qualify via Filing Fee

Thanks to Richard Winger of Ballot access News for this post.

Oklahoma State Senator Eddie Fields (R-Wynona) has introduced SB 145, which would give Independent Presidential candidates the option of paying a Fee to get on the November ballot, instead of a Petition. The Bill also lowers the Petition to 3% of the last Gubernatorial vote, which is considerably lower than 3% of the last Presidential vote.

The amount of the fee is somewhat ambiguous. The Bill says the fee would be $2,500 for each candidate for Presidential Elector. Oklahoma has seven Electoral votes. Seven multiplied by $2,500 equals $17,500. However, neither the Bill, nor existing Law, says that Independent Presidential candidates must file a full slate of electors. The Law implies there should be a least two, because it talks about a “Slate” of Presidential Elector candidates, which implies more than one. If two Electors were named by the Independent Presidential candidate, than the fee would be $5,000.

The Bill also abolishes the existing Law that lets an Unqualified Party put a Presidential candidate on the Ballot, with the Party label. That aspect of the Bill seems unwise, because then there would be no way for an Unqualified Party to place a Presidential candidate unless it Qualified as a full Party, and that Petition is due the first week in March, which is probably unconstitutionally early, at least for Presidential candidates.

The State Board of Elections backs this Bill.

Also, on January 12th, Jill Stein and Rocky De La Fuente filed a notice of Appeal in De La Fuente v Ziriax, in their Case that challenges the existing procedure for an Independent Presidential candidate, or the Presidential nominee of an Unqualified Party, to get on the Ballot. The case is based mostly on the fact that Oklahoma already lets Independent candidates for other office get on the Ballot with just a filing Fee and no Petition, yet won’t extend this option to Independent Presidential candidates. The Bill seems designed to settle the issue raised in the Lawsuit.

There are probably other Ballot access Bills about to be introduced into the Oklahoma Legislature.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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