POSTED ON OCTOBER 29, 2008:
Love Letters/Hate Mail
Back in July they held an election in Le Flore county of Oklahoma. The wife and I went down to vote for our favorite candidate. She is a registered Democrat and I am a registered Independent. I was refused the ability to vote. The excuse given was I was an Independent and there were only Democrats running. Well, no one got the required percentage of the vote so they had to run another election between the two top vote getters.
I wonder how many others were disenfranchised that day because they were not democrats. Perhaps there were enough turned away that another election would not have been needed. I was told that it was a primary election, but if there were a run off I would then be allowed to vote. NO election where if a person gets enough votes they win is a primary. Or are we back to "depends on your definition of IS is?" I was also told that if I want to vote in most of Oklahoma elections I would have to change my registration to Democrat by the lady that was running the voting poll!
Ok, it made me mad and I yelled a lot, but let it go pretty much at that. Today they held the runoff election and again the wife and I went to the polls to vote for our favorite. Again I was refused the ability to vote because I am still registered as Independent using the same old excuse that it is a "primary" and only Democrats are running.
How can this be a "primary" election? There are two men running, the top vote getters from the first election and who ever gets the most votes will be the new sheriff. This is a general election, not a dang primary, but once again i was disenfranchised and not allowed to vote. How many others are being disenfranchised by the Democratic Party in Oklahoma?
Is it any wonder that voters stay away from the polls by the thousands when this type of thing is allowed to be? No wonder 20-28 percent turn out is normal, why bother...This time I will not let it go. I am starting a letter writing binge to news papers, local and state, and will be writing letters to all Oklahoma so called leaders. I wonder how many will even bother to read them, much less bother to reply or do anything about it. I urge all voters to do the same.
A Cautious Approach
The United States is in the midst of what well may be the worst economic crisis since the 1929 crash on Wall Street which forced millions of Americans into poverty, hunger and despair. The home lending debacle has been snowballing for months, and the domino effect is devastating economies throughout the nation.
Here in Oklahoma, we've been fortunate--and some have claimed, even recession-proof. The main reason our state is in better financial state is due to high energy prices. But those of us who remember the oil bust of the 1980s know far too well how dangerous it is to build budgets on high energy prices that could easily fall drastically within a short time.
Admittedly, the prices have climbed ever higher in the last three years, but a closer analysis shows why we need to be extremely cautious. In January of 2005, the average price per barrel was $45.23. By that September, it was $63.19. It had climbed as high as $71.29 by July, 2006, but six months later it was $51.29.
This year, we've seen prices reach record levels--up to $140 a barrel this summer, but then prices have fallen dramatically in the last couple of months. How might the current economic crisis ultimately impact oil prices in the long run? What if we had another major terrorist attack? The recession and low energy prices following September 11, 2001, resulted in a $427 million shortfall by 2003. That shortfall was felt throughout every area of state government, from education to nutrition services for our seniors. We would be foolish to think Oklahoma will always be immune from economic downturns and recessions, and even more foolish still to think energy prices will never fall again.
For the past two years, I have called for the legislature to allow voters to decide a constitutional amendment to require certification of the 10-year average of gross production tax revenue and limit appropriations of revenues over that amount to one-time expenditures. I plan to re-introduce the measure for the 2009 legislative session.
If approved by the legislature and the voters, this proposal would provide greater stability in the state budget, as well as greater security for Oklahoma citizens. The gross production revenue exceeding the 10-year average could be spent for vital capital needs, including repairing dangerous roads and bridges. The excess funds could not be spent for recurring expenses, such as operational costs for state agencies and services.
I first introduced my proposal during the 2007 legislative session, but it was not heard. Before the 2008 session, I once again called for the measure to be heard. In a press release from January 8, I cautioned that economist were warning that a recession was possible--those warnings now appear to be true.
It is a recipe for disaster to base recurring expenditures on something that fluctuates as much as energy prices--and that's what happened during the oil boom. We cannot afford to repeat those mistakes. My proposal will help ensure we do not.
-Senator Kenneth Corn, D-Poteau
Wise Beyond His Years
With the election drawing near I thought it was time to update my "looks like" list of politicians. Here we go:
- Sarah Palin looks like the librarian in a porno movie.
- Barack Obama looks like a basketball referee.
- John McCain looks like the guy who passes around the collection plate in church on Sunday morning.
- Joe Biden looks like a semi-successful televangelist.
- I'm "Old Guy" and I approve this list.
Black and White Only
Once again, just as in 2004, I am forced to either vote for the lesser of two evils, or abstain from voting. I can vote for Barack 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.
Michael A. Clem
More than Just Lipstick
I am writing this letter to let the people of your community know I was an Oklahoman before moving to Alaska. I want to express my concerns of what many of you may be seeing and hearing negatively on the Political Presidential Race. Particularly the Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin issue. I know Sarah Palin personally and have more than 10 years. It would take more than a few months to legally disregard the lies and half truths that are circulating before the Election.
Alaska has had the honor of Sarah Palin being the Mayor of Wasilla (which was the fastest growing city in America) and her being on the Ethics Board (holding people accountable) then on to becoming our governor with 80 percent (yes eighty percent) approval rating among Alaskans. She has shown over and over her commitment to good honest decision making regardless of issues from hers or other political affiliation. Sarah's honesty and down home faith is what is missing in our politics today.
In my view, Sarah is one of us and our country needs her everyday common sense as Vice President to start cleaning house in Washington DC and then move on to others. Imagine actually having an honest person looking out for your well being everyday. I would like to see her tackle and slam dunk all those issues that are on the take of kickbacks and backhanded dealing that affect everyone of us, our children and grandchildren.
There's no need to wonder if she has the right foreign experience as we in Alaska have foreign countries Russia and Canada at our Front and Back door. Sarah has had to make decisions quickly on our no fly zone and waterways among others. She is the leader in energy independence. Sarah as Governor is the one to deploy Alaska National Guard military men and women as well as being there first to ever get the giant oil companies and bureaucrats to be accountable. Sarah Palin could step into the Presidency and I would sleep soundly knowing she had our backs.
I am asking everyone to band together and call or e-mail your family, friends and business associates across the United States and let them know McCain/Palin vote is the only way to get true positive change. John McCain is ready from day one to be Commander and Chief. Go to www.stateofalaska.com click on McCain/Palin banner and look at their record. We will see what a real honest Vice President can bring to President McCain and America. There's a whole lot more to Sarah Palin than just looks and lipstick.
I love the freedom we as Americans still have to set the record straight if we choose to exercise that right.
- Becky Martin
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