Oklahoma Ballot Access Reform (OBAR) has reluctantly concluded that the initiative to reform the Oklahoma ballot access laws cannot obtain the needed 74,000 valid signatures by January 15, 2008, the legal deadline. OBAR will use its remaining fiscal resources to lobby the Oklahoma legislature for a better law.
The chief reason for the demise of the initiative effort is Oklahoma’s law making it a crime for someone who is not domiciled in Oklahoma to ask people to sign an initiative petition. Oklahoma’s best professional petitioners are currently working on initiatives in other states that pay far more per signature than OBAR can afford to pay. Vigorous, almost super-human efforts, have been made to hire more Oklahoma residents to circulate the petition. Two hundred paid circulators have been working. But the vast majority of them are new to professional petitioning, and their production is only a tiny fraction of what an experienced circulator can do. In the 36 days since the drive started, only 12,000 signatures have been obtained by the paid workers, plus a few thousand more volunteer signatures.
The lawsuit against Oklahoma’s ban on out-of-state circulators is currently pending in the 10th circuit.