The general election is getting close, and I thought I should say something about it:
An Open Letter to the State of Oklahoma:
Once again, just as in 2004, I am forced to either voter for the lesser of two evils, or abstain from voting. I can vote for Barak Obama of the Democrat party, or for John McCain of the Republican party, but I cannot vote for Libertarian Bob Barr, Independent Ralph Nader, Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney, Constitution Party candidate Charles Baldwin, Independent Alan Keyes, nor any of the other, lesser known candidates. No Oklahoman can. In fact, Oklahoma is the only state that will not have any other presidential candidates on the ballot. Oklahoma doesn't even allow write-ins.
I must say, I find this very frustrating. Why am I and others to be denied a candidate who truly represents our views? Other states have eased their ballot access requirements, so why not Oklahoma? Is Oklahoma really such a restrictive and exclusive state when it comes to politics?
I know that you're very zealous of the Two-Party system, but remember that two is only one more than one. As issues like the Iraq war and the financial crisis should make clear, the two major parties really aren't offering us much in the way of policy differences. If democracy is really about the freedom to choose, then why are you restricting our choices so dramatically? Clearly, having the vote isn't nearly as powerful as being able to select who or what the people are allowed to vote for.
As children, we are raised to believe that we live in a free country, but excessive restrictions and regulations do not constitute freedom, no matter how free one is to complain about them. This is never more obvious than when the restrictions apply to the electoral system. The state constitution promises Oklahomans free and open elections, and every election cycle, you break this promise. The pre-1974 restrictions were tolerable, although they were still restrictions on elections. Since 1974, you've deliberately gone out of your way to make it excessively difficult for third parties to gain ballot access. With tremendous efforts, they have sometimes been able to get on the ballot, but the resources wasted on gaining ballot access ensure that they have little left to spread their message to the voters.
This is nothing but a protection scheme for tired, failed policies that offer nothing new to the voters. Have you not wondered why more and more Oklahomans are registering as Indepedents, instead of staying with the "protected" major parties? Voting in a primary election is no big deal unless you actually care about who the candidate is for a particular party.
I like Oklahoma. I was born and raised here, so it has enormous sentimental value to me. It also has a relatively low cost of living without sacrificing too much in the quality of life. But I fear that your restrictive policies are holding us back, and keeping Oklahomans from being all that they can be. There is no good reason for Oklahoma to be the worst state in the union for ballot access. It is too late for this election cycle--2008 is practically history, now. But it is never too late to make improvements for the future.