The Libertarian Party just scored a major victory in its quest to fulfill candidate Gary Johnson’s promise that the party will be on the ballot in all 50 states as an alternative to the Republicans and Democrats in the 2016 presidential election.
Ballot Access News is reporting that the Oklahoma Election Board announced on Monday that it has verified the Libertarian Party’s petition to become a qualified party in the state, meaning that its presidential candidate will appear on the 2016 ballot and that its voters can register to vote as members of the party.
Only Republican and Democratic candidates have appeared on the Oklahoma presidential ballot in every election so far since the year 2000. The only political party to gain recognized party status since that time, the Americans Elect party in 2011, did not place a candidate on the ballot after doing so.
Truth in Media reported last year on the fact that Oklahoma Republican Gov. Mary Fallin had signed a bill into law in May of 2015 that reduced the number of signatures required for a third party to obtain qualified party status from 5 percent of the number of people who voted in the last gubernatorial election to 3 percent.
Prior to that change in the law, the Libertarian Party called Oklahoma “one of the toughest states for ballot access.”
According to The Associated Press, the Oklahoma Libertarian Party had submitted a petition with 42,000 signatures in February, above the 24,745 signatures required to meet the 3 percent rule.
“We did it. Now we have to make it count,” said Oklahoma Libertarian Party vice chair Tina Kelly. She said that the party has a dozen in-state candidates that are planning to run for office, including two possible contenders for U.S. Senate.
In order to remain a qualified party in future elections, the top LP candidate on the ballot must garner at least 10 percent of the vote, a steep hurdle for a party that drew one percent of the vote nationally in the 2012 presidential election. However, a bill that would reduce that threshold from 10 percent to 2.5 percent passed the Oklahoma Senate by a vote of 42-1 on March 10. It has been referred to the Oklahoma House of Representatives for consideration.
Election law expert Richard Winger of Ballot Access News wrote, “The most difficult petition requirement the Libertarian Party must now complete, in order to have its presidential nominee on the ballot in all states in 2016, is the Illinois requirement, 25,000 signatures.”
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