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Green Party's Stein, Independent de la Fuente Sue For Access To Oklahoma's Presidential Ballot

Color-coded ballots for each Oklahoma County district are pictured at the Oklahoma County Board of Elections in Oklahoma City, Thursday, June 23, 2016. The ballots are color-coded according to party.
Sue Ogrocki
/
AP
Color-coded ballots for each Oklahoma County district are pictured at the Oklahoma County Board of Elections in Oklahoma City, Thursday, June 23, 2016. The ballots are color-coded according to party.

Oklahomans may not be able to vote for two presidential candidates this fall, including one high-profile third-party hopeful.

Green Party nominee Jill Stein and independent candidate Rocky de la Fuente are taking legal action to try to get on the ballot in November by arguing Oklahoma’s ballot access laws are too strict, The Journal Record’s Dale Denwalt reports:

The lawsuit is joined by several voters who support the candidates. Tulsa attorney James Linger wrote in the lawsuit that Oklahoma has an unnecessarily early filing deadline, a petition signature requirement that is too high and that the law discriminates against presidential candidates who are not Republican or Democrat. “Since this law has been in effect, the last time it was complied with was Ross Perot in 1992,” Linger said Friday. “In the last 24 years, no one has been able to comply with it.”

It’s also easier for third party candidates on the local level to get on the ballot. The newly official Oklahoma Libertarian Party needed 16,000 fewer signatures than presidential candidates did.

“It’s very easy if you want to be an independent candidate for any other office than president,” he said. “We have a long history of no one being successful in being able to comply with it.” Election Board spokesman Bryan Dean declined to comment and cited the agency’s policy of not discussing pending litigation. The petitioners have asked the court to rule several ballot access laws unconstitutional and allow voters to cast ballots for Stein or Fuente. Their request for a preliminary injunction was quickly rejected by U.S. District Judge Stephen Friot because of a technical error. Linger said the campaigns are still considering whether to file a separate, correct motion for immediate injunctive relief.

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Brian Hardzinski is from Flower Mound, Texas and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. He began his career at KGOU as a student intern, joining KGOU full time in 2009 as Operations and Public Service Announcement Director. He began regularly hosting Morning Edition in 2014, and became the station's first Digital News Editor in 2015-16. Brian’s work at KGOU has been honored by Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI), the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters, the Oklahoma Associated Press Broadcasters, and local and regional chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists. Brian enjoys competing in triathlons, distance running, playing tennis, and entertaining his rambunctious Boston Terrier, Bucky.
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