Oklahoma Governor Signs Bill Doubling Almost All Candidate Filing Fees

On May 15, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed SB 323. It roughly doubles all the candidate filing fees. This means the filing fee for independent presidential candidates, and the presidential nominees of unqualified parties, will be $35,000 in 2020, unless the fee is struck down.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Lubin v Panish and also Bullock v Carter that filing fees are unconstitutional unless they are needed to keep ballots from being too crowded. Because the new filing fee for Governor will be $2,000, it may be difficult for the state to explain why it needs $35,000 for President.


Oklahoma Governor Signs Bill Doubling Almost All Candidate Filing Fees — 7 Comments

  1. Well that bites.
    How can that fee be struck down? Legislature? Court? How can Fallin just decide something like that? Isn’t that something that needs to be voted upon?

  2. “[T]o keep ballots from being too crowded.” Let’s see, first the state monopolizes the ballot, then declares space is limited for candidates’ names. Then the state extracts taxes to rent space on the ballot caused by the artificial scarcity of space created by monopolizing the ballot. And the courts can’t see this self-serving circular argument? Give me a break!

  3. If an Independent presidential candidate were to sue in 2020 over the fee being excessive it has a good chance of being struck down. But it should be noted that a filing fee of $35,000($5,000 for each elector) remains a much lower barrier than the petitioning requirement.

  4. Joni

    This is basic civics stuff.

    The legislature decided on the amounts during passage of the Bill.

    The Governor signed the bill into law.

    Only the courts can strike it down. Unless OK has a citizens ballot initiative to override the legislature.

  5. ChrisInEngland

    Oklahoma does have a ballot initiative method for repealing laws passed by the legislature. However, such petitions are pretty onerous. One must file the intent to petition within 90 days of the legislature adjourning. Then if the petition is approved, you have 90 days to gather a petition of 5% of the last vote for Governor. That comes out to about 45,000 signatures. If everything works out in the end, it goes to a vote of the people at the next statewide election.

  6. Thank you ChrisInEngland, all these systems make my head swim (perhaps they’re designed in this way). I wonder…

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