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OK: Sooner State knocks Libertarian hopeful off ballot

By   /   August 29, 2012  /   News  /   32 Comments

By Patrick B. McGuigan | CapitolBeatOK

Oklahoma State Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma State Election Board removed the Americans Elect party from the November presidential election ballot Wednesday, effectively knocking out Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson.

The decision was made based on the advice of the state Attorney General’s Office.

Earlier this summer, the state Americans Elect party had designated a slate of presidential electors and named Johnson as its candidate, even as the national party’s directors spiked the group’s nationwide drive to provide an alternative to the two major parties.

Secretary of the State Election Board Paul Ziriax said in a statement sent Wednesday morning to CapitolBeatOK:

“You have previously asked me about the conflicting instructions the State Election Board received from the Directors of the Americans Elect party and a local group claiming to on act on behalf of the Americans Elect party. (The Board of Directors of the party instructs that the Americans Elect party will not field any candidates for President or Vice President, while the local group instructs that the party has chosen candidates for President and Vice President – the same candidates chosen by the Libertarian Party in other states.)”

Gary Johnson

Ziriax said Assistant Attorney General Neal Leader advised the Election Board that it “should not place the Americans Elect Party president and vice-presidential candidates or presidential electors on the November 2012 general election ballot in Oklahoma.”

Ziriax told CapitolBeatOK, “Our staff will proceed with our general election ballot preparations accordingly.”


In his 20-page analysis of the legal questions involved, Leader said the national group retained control of the party’s ballot line, and the national directors’ decision held in the state.

Richard Winger, editor of Ballot Access News, said Leader’s written opinion “contains no references to any court cases to justify his opinion.”

Winger contends the Election Board and Leader “have acted in a deceitful manner.

Americans Elect gained ballot status in March after a successful petition campaign that enjoyed the support of David Boren, now president of the University of Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma effort began with fanfare in January, achieving success in March, after a Libertarian-organized drive fell short of the required signatures. Oklahoma is widely considered one of the most difficult states for ballot access.

Just weeks ago, local activists submitted electors to state officials, in support of Johnson, but on a parallel track the national Americans Elect party informed the Election Board it was abandoning its drive “in all states in which Americans Elect has obtained a ballot access line” with the “unanimous written consent” of the national group’s directors.

Contact Patrick McGuigan at [email protected]



Patrick formerly served as staff reporter for Watchdog.org.

  • Unless the courts reverse this decision, Oklahoma voters will once more be the only voters in the U.S. who are not permitted to vote for any presidential candidates other than the Democratic and Republican nominees. That was also true in 2004 and 2008. Gary Johnson will probably be on the ballot in every other states, and even if he missed Pennsylvania or Michigan (which are still unsettled) those states have Jill Stein, Green Party nominee, already safely on the ballot.

  • The Oklamahoma State Elections Board are a bunch of enema gargling twat waffles. I hope their wives give them the clap and their homes are foreclosed upon.

  • this is not right at all people has spoken and want Gary better stop before i get in trouble

  • real good going oklahoma.. thank you for letting your peers not have a say so.. when did they move oklahoma to iran????

  • Jerry

    On August 17 an official in the Attorney General’s office wrote an opinion saying the Oklahoma state officers of Americans Elect can’t choose a presidential candidate because the national leaders of Americans Elect in Washington, DC have the implicit power to veto the actions of the state chair of Americans Elect in Oklahoma. But this opinion was not shown to the state chair of Americans Elect; it was kept secret. On August 20, the attorney for the Libertarian Party agreed to postpone action on the Libertarian ballot access suit until after the election, because he had been told informally that Oklahoma would let the state Americans Elect party oficers nominate Gary Johnson. So the Libertarians were fooled by the secrecy of the Attorney General’s office and the State Elections Board. Also fooled were the state officers of the Americans Elect Party.

  • I wonder how many Oklahomans realize how anti-democratic their state is. Pathetic. Oklahoma really needs to do something about its hostile, draconian ballot access laws.

  • ViragoVirgo

    Considering the money and effort the US puts into making sure other countries have fair and open elections it is truly despicable that in our own country so many regulations and obstacles are put into place to make it impossible to have a fair and open election. Oklahoma and other states that participate in restricting third parties ballot access, or requiring more effort from third parties than the Dem and GOP, are no better than the very countries we take issue with. You’ve just proven to the rest of the world that we truly have no business involving ourselves in THEIR elections because we can’t even have FAIR elections here in the USA. We no longer have a government for the people by the people, we have a totalitarian government, and that is truly sickening.

  • Time to REMOVE D’s and R’s from OK offices that just cannot seem to fix this issue…do you hear me reps…you are NO LONGER GETTING MY VOTE BECAUSE OF THIS ISSUE.

  • Welcome to AMERIKA comrade!

  • I sincerely hope that Gary Johnson sues the hell out of this state and we can waste more taxpayer money defending IGNORANCE. As a matter of fact as a voter affected by this move, can I file suit?

  • About the time Fallin got elected. Henry was a decent governor…we are now Oklahomastan.

  • conspiracygirl

    Well, if Republicans insist that a vote for Johnson is a vote for Obama then so be it. Have it their way! If the GOP is going to be evil and won’t allow any other option, then I’ll vote directly for the other evil, Obama — but I won’t vote GOP.

  • Just more if the same with the Republiocrats desperately trying to keep their stranglehold on Americans.

    Is it any surprise that there are so many disenfranchised voters when our choices are limited to 2 candidates with little daylight between their views?

  • This decision stinks to high heaven. Gary Johnson is this country’s best hope for President.

  • chris

    This does not prevent me from writing Johnson on my ballot, and you can count on me to do so! Who are these people to take away my right to vote for whomever I see fit.

  • pattyloof

    Except for then your whole ballot goes in the trash, unfortunately. We can’t even write in a candidate here.

  • jetme

    Hitler would have loved the Oklahoma Republican Party.

  • Kelly

    Romney is a government-bailout mooch just like the people he now rails against. When it comes to taxing and spending, Republican=Democrat.

  • Bluerose

    I have been slowly hating this State. I was born here 54 years ago and the more I fight the established Government in this State the more Crooked I find them to be. They do not have to follow the Laws set in Oklahoma or the Federal Laws set by our Country. And not many realize that they are being controlled.

  • Bluerose

    It is now time to wipe the slate clean and vote out all that are up for reelection and vote in the libs….

  • So there will only be 2 presidential candidates on the OK ballot? How convenient for Goldman Sachs. The owners of both of the Big Two party candidates. Why don’t we just save a lot of time and money and abolish the US government and let the board of directors for Goldman Sachs run our country? They have done such a good job so far already (sarcasm)

  • Steve Trinward

    A lot of scams involved here; incomplete information (and outright lying?) by the OK state officials … and then there’s the buttheads allegedly in charge of Americans Elect, who sabotaged their own state organization, and managed in the process to screw the LP as well. This is either a massive lawsuit that overturns the entire Oklahoma election laws (and puts some people behind bars?) or we all just start ignoring the Okies …

  • gadsdengurl

    YOU DO know it was the despicable Mitt Romney and his money and lawyers who is doing this?

    Mitt Romney Mr Nice Guy NOT.

  • kyle sandborn

    This doesn’t even make sense, who called the election board god. Trying to make me vote between a giant douche and a turd sandwich is ludicrous. I’d much rather withhold my vote than vote for a lesser evil.

  • Meanwhile Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin is campaigning in North Carolina for Romney… Looks like I will be writing “Ron Paul / Gary Johnson” over the whole ballot in sharpie marker. Just another year of being disfranchised in the backward state of Oklahoma…

  • OK, so we have Obama with his doctored up birth certificate, but JOHNSON gets kicked off the ballot? Wow. You guys are on your own – I have NO idea what the hell I can do to help. This is beyond fuckled up.

  • Small wonder the Libertarians & Independents are growing in number, eh?

  • you can sue for anythign now a days… i’d say go for it…

  • A vote for Romney is a vote for Obama

  • This should be our agenda

  • Eliyahu

    This is the reason I tried to create the collegiate Libertarian Party. If we could get college students to elect Libertarian candidstes in their respective schools, then when they start voting in the real world, they will vote Libertaran. We will have more Libertarians to petition the Oklhoma gocvernment to allow third party voting. It isn’t right that we have to ask other parties for permisdion to vote! It’s unAmerican!

  • Flora

    My husband and I are looking for a good attorney to sue the state election board on our behalf because our whole ballot will be trashed tomorrow for writing in our choice for president and vice president. If you know of anyone we are all ears. We will posting youtube videos about our experience at the voting site. I encourage you to post your video as well let’s show the world what is happening here in OK.