While a record number of candidates filed for Oklahoma offices this month, the Oklahoma State Election Board will hear more than two dozen contests of candidacy today.
The Tulsa World went long on challenged candidacies in northeastern Oklahoma on Sunday, but the story of Joshua Lee Setzer in the state’s panhandle has yet to be told.
Setzer filed as a Democrat to run against Sen. Bryce Marlatt (R-Woodward) in Senate District 27. Marlatt, however, challenged Setzer’s candidacy on the basis that he has not been a registered Democrat for the required six months prior to filing.
While Setzer — and several others — may well be thrown off the ballot today, he and Oklahoma Democratic Party chairman Mark Hammons have filed a lawsuit contesting the state requirement of six-month party affiliation as a First Amendment violation.
“Freedom of association would be the more correct description of it,” Hammons said of his suit Sunday by phone. “The strongest argument is that you simply cannot delegate to the Republican Party to make a challenge based on how long or how well someone is affiliated to the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party’s right to organize and decide who is put forth as a candidate is protected from outside interference.”
Oklahoma County Court heard Hammons’ suit Friday and ruled they did not have jurisdiction. As a result, Hammons and Setzer are set to take their challenge to the Oklahoma Supreme Court via writ, assuming the election board approves Marlatt’s candidacy challenge today.
“What [removing Setzer] would do is guarantee that over 10,000 registered voters would never get to vote on a state senate candidate,” said Hammons, an attorney and former member of the Oklahoma Legislature. “No Democrat would get to vote, no independent would get to vote, no Libertarian would get to vote if that challenge is sustained. That’s fundamentally wrong, that’s fundamentally bad. When large groups of people don’t get to vote, that can break down the system.”
Hammons said his party is not challenging any Republican or Libertarian candidates over the length of their party registration, though he said challenges for candidates about their length of residency in their district is another matter. Hammons said Setzer has lived in the district “for years.”
“Voter turnout is terrible. We should be encouraging participation, not raising roadblocks to it,” Hammons said. “It’s important to make the overall election process one that engages as many people as possible.”
Things we saw (and heard)
U.S. suicide rate surges to a 30-year high — New York Times
News Sites Start Charging Readers to Comment on Articles — Bloomberg
Oklahoma News Report Extra: Corrections Woes — YouTube
Oklahoma school funding declines noted by Moody’s — Associated Press
Quotes to note
At the end of it we’ve got a message that is going all around the world right now, it’s going off like a frog in a sock telling people that if you come into this nation and you don’t obey our laws, you’re in trouble.
— Australian Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce to the BBC on a story about Johnny Depp’s dogs, 4/19/16
This is like a Super Bowl ticket. The price only goes up. If I were a delegate, I’d say I’m unpledged and hang my hat out there…wine me and dine me. I think there are going to be some free trips to Cleveland…that is time-tested and true in terms of delegates who are unpledged and campaigns doing what they need to do to get to their magic number.
— a political “operative” to Politico in a story discussing unpledged presidential delegates to the Republican National Convention, 4/20/16
When I started playing football as a little kid, the last thing on my mind was, “Will I be able to walk when I’m 50? Will I be able to keep a train of thought when I’m 45? When I’m 50, will I suffer from uncontrollable mood swings? And even worse, will someday I be so depressed that I would take my own life?
— former Oklahoma State University and Buffalo Bills running back Thurman Thomas on concussions as reported by Bleacher Report, 4/24/16
Highlights from NonDoc
‘Rachel from cardholder services’ must die‘ by William W. Savage III
High school junior: ‘Oklahoma is failing its students’ by Sophie Trachtenberg
“100 percent chance of Purple Rain: A poem on Prince“ by William W. Savage Jr.