GPOK To Submit Signatures For Party Recognition, Protest Current Laws

ON EVE OF PETITION DEADLINE, PARTY LEADERS WILL HIGHLIGHT URGENT NEED FOR BALLOT-ACCESS REFORM

OKLAHOMA CITY – With hands tied in protest, the GPOK will submit its petition signatures for party recognition to the Oklahoma Election Board at 9 a.m. tomorrow. Though short of the required 25,000 signatures, the party wants its petitions on record to exemplify the continued exclusion of alternative political parties from the democratic process in Oklahoma.

The official signature count will be available after the March 1 primaries.

“Our hands are tied,” said Rachel Jackson, state facilitator of the GPOK Cooperative Council. ”The current ballot access laws not only keep us off the ballot, they prevent us from building a party by making it impossible to register voters as Greens and run candidates. While last year’s reform measure was a great improvement, the law remains an unjust burden for fledgling new political parties in the state.”

The GPOK is following several reform measures making headway this legislative session. Senate Bill 896, authored by Sen. Kyle Loveless (R-Oklahoma City), passed unanimously in the Senate Rules Committee and is now headed to the floor for a vote. SB 896 would lower the percentage of votes needed by candidates for governor or president to remain a recognized political party. As it stands, the bill would change the requirement from 10 percent to percent.

“We applaud these current efforts by our legislators to give Oklahoma voters more options on Election Day,” Jackson said.

Other groups, like the Oklahoma Libertarian Party and Oklahomans for Ballot Access Reform coalition, are also lending their support for such reforms.

“The truth is that ballot-access laws undermine the fundamental principles of democracy,” said OBAR spokesman Micah Gamino. “The theory that ballots will be overcrowded with candidates without them is a myth, when you look at the facts. The state requires only a filing fee to get on the ballot as an Independent candidate for all offices except for president, and crowded ballots and ‘spoiler’ candidates haven’t been a problem here. Oklahoma’s ballot restrictions target the right of citizens to form new political parties, for no other reason than to safeguard our artificial, Republicratic, two-party system.”

Future activities include the organization of training events for citizen lobbyists to support this year’s reform measures. The GPOK also plans to launch another petition drive immediately following the November election.

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Oklahoma Green Party Encourages Independents to Vote Bernie Sanders for Oklahoma Democratic Party Nomination

GREEN PARTY OF OKLAHOMA ENCOURAGES INDEPENDENTS TO VOTE FOR BERNIE SANDERS IN OKLAHOMA DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
February 22, 2016
Contact:
Rachel Jackson, GPOK State Facilitator
(405) 205-6048; rcjackson@ou.edu

Eric Smith, GPOK State Treasurer and GPUS National Delegate
(918) 760-4413; sericm012@gmail.com
THE POLITICAL PARTY KNOWN FOR ITS PURSUIT OF SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC JUSTICE BELIEVES SANDERS IS BEST CANDIDATE ON STATE BALLOT TO REPRESENT PROGRESSIVE OKLAHOMANS
Party leaders cite Sanders’ values and refusal to take corporate donations as well as repressive ballot access laws that will not allow their party nominee to receive a line on the state ballot as reasons for endorsement.
Norman, OK—This afternoon, the Green Party of Oklahoma’s Cooperative Council unanimously voted to encourage Independents to vote for Bernie Sanders for President of the United States in the upcoming Oklahoma Democratic Primary based upon social media survey results. During the meeting, council members compared Sanders’ positions on issues involving the economy, social justice, feminism, education, and the environment to their party platform.
They also agreed to survey GPOK members and other left-leaning voters for their opinion via social media before making the endorsement official. Because registered Independents can now vote in the Oklahoma Democratic Primary, the GPOK believes supporting Sanders is the best way to participate electorally while representing Green Party values. Party leaders sent out a social media survey asking if the party should endorse Sanders. The results showed overwhelming support for the endorsement.
“The platform of the Green Party of Oklahoma contains what we call our “10 Key Values,” said Green Party of Oklahoma State Facilitator Rachel Jackson. “These values are grassroots democracy, social justice, ecological wisdom, nonviolence, decentralization, community-based economics, feminism, respect for diversity, global responsibility, and a focus on the future. Bernie Sanders is the only candidate who will appear on Oklahoma’s ballot in the primaries that will truly advocate for most of those ideals.”
The GPOK acknowledges some Greens believe parts of Sanders’ platform, such as his stance on military drones and Israel, do not reflect Green values.
Given the lack of options for Oklahoma Greens on the Oklahoma ballot, however, Greens believe Sanders to be the best possible option for those Greens casting votes in Oklahoma’s Democratic Primary. Oklahoma’s ballot access laws, amended by the legislature in 2014, still require approximately 25,000 valid petition signatures for a third party to place a candidate on the presidential ballot. These signatures do not insure the party will retain ballot access after the election. Oklahoma Greens believe the number of petition signatures required for ballot access should be lowered to 5,000.
The Green Party is perhaps best known for one of their previous presidential candidates: Ralph Nader. Some Democratic Party leaders continue to cite Nader as the reason Al Gore lost to George W. Bush in Florida during the 2000 presidential elections. When asked about the shadow of Nader’s influence over that election, Green Party of the United States National Delegate Eric Smith embraced Nader’s 2000 presidential run.
“During his 2000 campaign, Nader wanted to give voters a chance to vote for a progressive. That should be celebrated. People who blame Nader for Gore’s loss should instead blame Florida’s flawed electoral system. Let’s not forget about Florida’s history of problems around the voting booth. It’s time to move beyond partisanship and forge an alliance among progressives. This is about sending a message of support for the political revolution taking place in our country. If we want to see real democracy in America, we have to unite around the goals we share. Voting for Sanders is a short term tactic to support a long term strategy.”
“We will continue to fight for ballot access for Green Party candidates in Oklahoma,” Jackson says. “In the meantime, because Oklahoma’s Democratic Party decided to allow independent voters an opportunity to vote in their primary, we are excited to participate. Progressive independents and Democrats need to make the most of this opportunity, and we ask that they vote for Bernie Sanders on March 1st.”

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The Green Party of Oklahoma was formed in 2002 and received its accreditation from the Green Party of the US in May 2005. For more information about Green Party of Oklahoma, visit http://www.okgreens.org.

Statement from The Green Party of Oklahoma regarding Robin Long

The Green Party of Oklahoma joins people of conscience around the world in decrying the harshness of the punishment given to Robin Long by the Army on August 22 at Ft. Carson, Colorado.

With Robin Long being the first Iraq war resister deported from Canada and turned over to the U.S. military, the Army clearly intended to make an example of the case. The sentence of 15 months confinement, a demotion to private, and dishonorable discharge, is extreme, considering Long’s only “crime” is moral opposition to the Iraq war.

As determined at the Ft. Carson court-martial, Robin’s refusal to go to Iraq was punished with the equivalent of a felony conviction in many states — a sentence much harsher than that given to personnel whose actions in uniform led to loss of life or serious compromise of U.S. stature and security. It could permanently impact Robin’s future employment options and ability to support his family.

Using Long as a symbol to dissuade others from similar actions will not work, as the call to follow one’s moral compass is a higher command than any military order. Instead, it will only make him a martyr to anti-war efforts, especially in Canada, where citizens are protesting their government’s collusion with the Bush Administration’s misguided foreign policy. Robin Long is only one of many who have fled to Canada rather than act in opposition to their conscience; his harsh punishment has galvanized grassroots efforts to allow the others to stay.

We call on the Army to re-evaluate the sentence. We believe that Robin should serve three months (less time already served), and the discharge be changed to Other Than Honorable — still a serious punishment that should satisfy the Army’s need to make Robin pay for his refusal to deploy as ordered.

We look forward to supporting Robin Long during his imprisonment, working with his support committee, and continuing to promote the growing resistance movement in the U.S. military.

Further, we applaud the work of War Resisters Support Campaign (Canada), Courage to Resist, and Oklahoma Green Party member James M. Branum (Long’s civilian attorney), in their ongoing advocacy on Robin Long’s behalf. We encourage those who want to show support for Robin or to learn more about the case to visit freerobin.org.

Green Party of Oklahoma to have 6th Annual Meeting in Stroud

Anyone interested in the Green Party, its values and positions, is welcome to attend, whether official members of the Green Party or not.

The Oklahoma Greens are currently engaged in a petition drive to ease requirements for placing third-party candidates on the ballot. They are working with the Oklahoma Libertarian and Constitution parties, as well as Oklahoma Independent voters to change what many academics and activists call the strictest ballot access laws in the nation. More info about the coalition campaign, Oklahomans for Ballot Access Reform, can be found at okvoterchoice.org.

The annual meeting agenda will include a report on the ballot access campaign, proposed changes to the state party organizing structure, outreach projects and election of officers.

This year is the 6th Annual Meeting of the Oklahoma Greens, which was established in 2002 and received recognition from the Green Party of the United States in 2005.

Greens are committed to environmentalism, non-violence, social justice and grassroots organizing, working to renew and expand democracy without the support of corporate donors.

The Rock Cafe is located at 114 West Main Street. A map to the site can be found at http://www.rockcaferoute66.com/map.html

For more info about the Green Party of Oklahoma, see okgreens.org or call (405) 205-6048.

Oklahoma County Green Party endorses Fannie Bates in special election for County Commissioner

Support for local mass transit initiatives key to Party’s support

The Oklahoma County Green Party decided at its July 17 meeting to endorse Fannie Bates for county commissioner in the special election on August 14.

The election is being held to fill the seat vacated by Jim Roth upon his appointment by Gov. Henry to the state Corporation Commission. Five candidates are vying for the spot, and the one who receives a plurality of votes in the election will serve out Roth’s term.

Noting her long history of grassroots activism around issues of civil rights, social justice and environmental sustainability, Party members were unusually enthusiastic about the endorsement.

“We’re proud to endorse Fannie Bates,” said James M. Branum, OCGP spokesperson. “We are looking forward to seeing a grassroots activist get elected to office and then continue to fight for the people.”

“In particular, we hope that she can bring attention to the pending needless destruction of the Union Station Railyards.”

Ms. Bates has made preserving and utilizing Union Station and associated rail infrastructure the central issue in her platform. She believes, like a majority of metropolitan area citizens in a 2005 MAPS 3 poll, that mass transit should be a priority in the long-term planning of the area, and that existing resources should not be destroyed.

In order to bring attention to this timely issue, Oklahoma County Green Party members are working with other activists and groups to organize a “Save the Rails!” rally at 10 AM on Saturday, August 11 at Union Station, 300 SW 7th, Oklahoma City.

The Green Party of Oklahoma consists of four party locals. In addition to the Oklahoma County party, there are established parties in Tulsa (Green Country Greens) and Cleveland County, as well as the Rural Greens of Oklahoma, which includes the rest of the state.

The Green Party does not have ballot access in Oklahoma and the state Green Party and locals have endorsed progressive Democrats, as well as independent candidates, in the past.

For more information about the Oklahoma County Greens, see http://www.okgreens.org/locals/ocgp or call (405) 445-5408.

MORE INFORMATION:

Oklahoma County Districts map

Fannie Bates campaign web site

Oklahoma City Railways

OKC’s MAPS3 survey shows strong support for mass transit by Brian Brus, Journal Record

A System in Transit by Bryan Dean, Daily Oklahoman (as published by MassTransitMag.org)