Greens protest ballot access laws

Petitions for Presidential candidate David Cobb submitted

Representatives of the Green Party of Oklahoma presented petitions to the state election board requesting that Green presidential candidate David Cobb be on the ballot this November. Oklahoma’s ballot access laws are some of the most restrictive in the country, and over 35,000 names would have been needed to place Cobb’s name as an Independent; and over 57,000 to have him shown as the Green Party candicate.

With their petitions, the Greens presented to the Election Board Supervisor a position paper and a statement from Cobb, which they also distributed to the Governor and to the office of each state senator and representative.

Statement by The Green Party of Oklahoma

Today, July 15, the opportunity to get on the presidential ballot in Oklahoma ends. As in previous years, thousands of Oklahomans – including not only Greens, but also Libertarians, and supporters of independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader – will be deprived of their right to vote for the presidential candidate of their choice.

This happens every four years because Oklahoma has the nation’s most restrictive ballot access laws. In neighboring Arkansas, a party and its presidential candidate can get on the ballot with only 1,000 signatures. In other states, just a few hundred will do. But in Oklahoma, presidential candidates need over 35,000 signatures…and parties need over 50,000 signatures to have full ballot access. And unlike all our neighbors, we have no write-in voting in Oklahoma.

Today, the Green Party of Oklahoma is turning in a small, symbolic number of signatures for our national presidential candidate David Cobb. Mr. Cobb is running for president in part because he feels that our democracy is broken, and an important part of the solution is electoral reform. No state illustrates this better than Oklahoma, where the Republicans and Democrats have made it almost impossible for our citizens to vote for any but their chosen presidential candidates. In practice, it costs over $100,000 in petitioning expenses to get on the presidential ballot in this state…unless you’re the Republican or a Democrat candidate, who don’t need to collect a single signature. Our state constitution calls for “free and equal elections.” But for the hundreds of thousands of Oklahomans who feel ill-served by the two major parties, they are expensive and unequal.

Limiting our choice to Bush or Kerry is particular unfortunate because we already know where Oklahoma’s electoral votes are going. This state will, unfortunately, vote overwhelmingly for President Bush. And our electoral college system will thus give all seven of our electoral votes to him. Were populists and progressives in this state given the chance, they’d be free to cast a vote based on their hopes and not their fears. In a truly free and equal election, we’d be urging Oklahomans to vote for David Cobb and Pat LaMarche, the Green ticket for President and Vice President. The Green Party of Oklahoma pledges to work with other parties and non-profit organizations to change our ballot access laws, so that this will be the last year that Oklahomans are deprived of choice.

But just because Oklahomans will not get to vote for Cobb, does not mean they can’t help the Cobb campaign and the Green Party. Unlike Kerry and Bush, David Cobb and the Greens are entirely opposed to the war in Iraq. We were against it from the start; today we call for the immediate return of American troops. The best way to support our men and women in uniform is to bring them home. Unlike Kerry and Bush, David Cobb and the Greens oppose the so-called free trade policies that have sent so many jobs from this state out of the country. We seek a trade policy that lifts standards of living of working families here and around the world. Unlike Kerry and Bush, David Cobb and the Greens support a serious commitment to ending our dependency on fossil fuels, a dependency that is both destroying our planet and endangering our national security. If peace, social justice, and environmental sanity sound like good ideas to you, we urge you to visit the websites of the Green Party of Oklahoma, www.okgreens.org, and the David Cobb campaign, www.votecobb.org. This fall and beyond, we’d love to have you join us to help build a better state, a better country, and a better world.

David Cobb, Green Party presidential candidate, released the following statement concerning the ballot drive in Oklahoma:

“I want to thank the Oklahoma Greens for their efforts in trying to secure a ballot line in Oklahoma for the Cobb-LaMarche campaign. The good people of Oklahoma may be unaware that Oklahoma state law makes it extraordinarily difficult for parties other than the two established parties to be placed on the ballot. In fact, Oklahoma’s restrictive ballot access laws are among the worst in the nation. These restrictive laws have no purpose other than to protect the existing parties which enacted them.

“Voting is at the heart of the democratic process but voting can be reduced to a meaningless exercise if voters are denied freedom of choice. The Cobb-LaMarche campaign joins with the Oklahoma Greens in calling for changes to the Oklahoma ballot access laws. The people of Oklahoma deserve the opportunity to vote for the Green Party presidential ticket but are prevented from exercising their right to vote under the current law.

“Oklahoma is one of only five states in U.S. which does not allow write-in votes. Therefore, Oklahomans who want to support the Cobb-LaMarche campaign have no opportunity whatsoever to vote for the candidates of their choice. These types of restrictions on the electoral process have no place in a democratic society.”

For more information on the Cobb-LaMarche campaign go to votecobb.org