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Libertarians, Greens Partner Over Oklahoma Ballot Access

Brian Hardzinski

Oklahoma’s Libertarian and Green parties announced Monday they will launch a joint signature campaign to get both of their parties recognized for the 2016 election – with a goal of making it easier for voters to choose the parties’ nominees.

A new Oklahoma law going into effect in November reduces the number of signatures needed for a party’s nominees to appear on a ballot. Currently, parties need five percent of the votes cast in the previous general election --- in November, that will change to three percent of the last general election, or roughly 25,000 signatures based on 2014 turnout.

The Associated Press’ Sean Murphy reports Oklahoma has some of the most stringent requirements to get a political party recognized.

The last political party outside of Republican or Democrat to gain recognition in Oklahoma was Americans Elect, which launched an effort to have a presidential candidate on the ballot in 2012, but the party never selected a nominee. Both the Reform and Libertarian parties successfully gathered enough signatures to become recognized parties in Oklahoma in 2000, but their candidates did not receive the 10 percent of votes needed to continue as a political party. In that year's general election, neither Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan nor Libertarian Harry Browne received more than 1 percent of the vote.

Despite ideological differences, the Green and Libertarian parties are working together to gather those signatures. Both parties have filed paperwork with the Oklahoma Election Board to get their candidates on the ballot.

The parties will have a volunteer training session on Saturday at Ronald J. Norick Downtown Library in Oklahoma City.

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Jacob McCleland spent nine years as a reporter and host at public radio station KRCU in Cape Girardeau, Mo. His stories have appeared on NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered, Here & Now, Harvest Public Media and PRI’s The World. Jacob has reported on floods, disappearing languages, crop duster pilots, anvil shooters, Manuel Noriega, mule jumps and more.
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