Oklahoma ballot access case in court Friday


The Oklahoma Libertarian Party reports that their request for an injunction in their ballot access case will come before a district court judge this Friday. Even though I'm a Republican, I've always thought there was something unfair about giving two parties official status and requiring other parties to recertify themselves after each election. While Libertarians are able to file for office, in Oklahoma they may only file as Independents, and that is how they will appear on the ballot. A third party has to file a petition to attain official status, which allows people to register under that banner and allows the party name to appear on state ballots.

The fairest thing would be to have a separation of party and state. Leave it to each party to decide how to select its nominees. If a party wishes to hold a primary, it can pay the state to cover the cost of the election and to manage its membership list. Instead, a party could choose to certify its own members and conduct its nominating process by mail, online, through in-person voting that it staffs and manages itself, or through a system of caucuses and conventions.

For the general election, the ballot could completely omit party information, making it each party's responsibility to publicize the candidates it endorses. Alternatively, the state could set some minimal standards for party certification, and the ballot could list each endorsement each candidate receives from a registered party. As in New York State, a candidate might be endorsed by multiple parties.

But my pragmatic side doesn't want to see the door opened to general elections with large numbers of candidates as long as we have a system of voting that malfunctions when more than two candidates are on the ballot. A system like Instant Runoff Voting is the only way to allow voters a wide range of choices while ensuring that the majority rules in the outcome of the election. Instant Runoff Voting is "spoiler-proof," eliminating one of the traditional arguments against easy ballot access, and freeing voters from any worries about wasting votes.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on June 7, 2004 9:32 PM.

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