The Oklahoma House Rules Committee is currently thinking about Representative Charles Key’s HB 1072. That bill lowers the petition for new and previously unqualified parties from 5% of the last vote cast, to 5,000 signatures.
Key has been told informally that if he amends the bill to require a petition of 5% of the last gubernatorial vote, his bill will pass the Rules Committee. That would mean the bill caused no improvement in presidential election years, but at least it would substantially improve the requirement in mid-term years (so that the 2010 requirement would be 46,324 signatures instead of 73,134 signatures).
Ironically, even if the proposed bill passed, Oklahoma would still be the only state in the nation with a mandatory petition procedure for a new party to place its nominees on the November ballot with a party label, in excess of 3% of the last gubernatorial vote. Although there are 5% petition procedures for a fully-qualified party in Maine, Minnesota, and Rhode Island, the Maine, Minnesota and Rhode Island 5% procedures are not mandatory; groups can appear on the November ballot with their party label next to their nominees in those three states, with much easier alternate procedures. Thanks to Richard Prawdzienski for this news.