On May 22, the Oklahoma legislature’s conference committee for HB 2134, the ballot access bill, re-wrote the bill. The original bill eased the petition for a newly-qualifying party to get on the ballot, and the Senate version also slightly also eased the petition for independent presidential candidates and the presidential nominees of unqualified parties.
The new bill does not ease the petition to qualify a new party. But it substantially improves the presidential petition for independent candidates and the nominees of unqualified parties. The current petition for President is 3%, which is 40,047 valid signatures for 2016. The bill cuts the petition to 1.5%, which would be 20,023 valid signatures for 2016. Just as significantly, the petition for unqualified parties need not carry the names of the presidential or vice-presidential candidates. Therefore, a party could start to circulate this petition well before it chooses its national ticket. The deadline would continue to be July 15.
The re-written bill contains the provision that the Senate prefers, concerning disobedient presidential electors. A presidential elector who voted in the electoral college for someone unexpected would be deemed to have resigned and be replaced by the other electors.
For independent presidential candidates, the presidential candidate’s name would need to be on the petition, but the candidate for vice-president could be omitted. If the re-written bill passes, Oklahoma would no longer have the nation’s most onerous procedures for president. North Carolina would be the most severe. Here is the text of the re-written bill. Thanks to E. Zachary Knight for this news.