FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  March 10, 2015

House Passes Speaker’s Bill Improving Oklahoma Ballot Access 

OKLAHOMA CITY – A measure authored by Speaker Jeffrey W. Hickman reforming Oklahoma ballot access passed the House of Representatives today.

House Bill 2181 modifies the requirements for those who wish to form a political party in the state of Oklahoma. The state’s restrictions on additional political parties are among the most stringent in the nation. Currently, those who wish to form a new party must collect signatures from 5 percent of Oklahoma voters who voted in the most recent election for Governor or President which would have been 66,744 signatures in 2014.

HB 2181 changes the threshold to 1 percent of the last gubernatorial election, just more than 8,000 signatures. Oklahoma’s restrictive ballot law was implemented in 1974 replacing the previous requirement of only 5,000 signatures.

“Our ballot access laws have forced some Oklahomans to register as Democrats who don’t share the beliefs of most Oklahoma Democrats, and some Oklahomans to register as Republicans who don’t share the beliefs of most Oklahoma Republicans,” said Hickman, R-Fairview. There is no reason to be afraid of a debate of ideas between more than two political parties or to be afraid of ballot access systems which work in most other states.”

HB 2181 will now move to the Senate for consideration.

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