NORMAN — The presidential election may be behind the nation and Oklahoma for the next four years, but some citizens are already attempting to instigate change for 2016’s voters.
The University of Oklahoma Undergraduate Student Congress recently passed a resolution, authored by representatives Kristin Pascoe and Devin Smith, urging Oklahoma lawmakers to add a write-in option for third party voters to the Oklahoma election ballot.
“A lot of modern college students identify with fiscally conservative and socially liberal politics, and, approaching the (2012) election, I found there were a lot of students who preferred a third-party candidate but were unable to physically vote in states which provided that option, like Texas,” Pascoe said. “Publicity and awareness is all we could ask at this point.”
Copies of the resolution have been sent to the Oklahoma Supreme Court, the Oklahoma Election Commission, Representative Emily Virgin and Sen. John Sparks, with no response yet.
“The resolution was mailed recently, and we haven’t gotten much response to it except a few people generally in favor or expressing appreciation,” Smith said.
Though the ultimate goal of the resolution is to see the state government alter election ballots for the accommodation of third-party voters, Pascoe and Smith’s expectations for the next few years are both positive and realistic.
“This state will go red every time, but at least I can represent the wishes of OU students and try to provide them a write-in option consistent with their political affiliation,” Pascoe said.
“I wrote the resolution because I feel the two-party system has become too much of party vs. party and not candidate vs. candidate,” Smith said. “There is too much emphasis on which party will produce the best candidate, and I’d like to see a system which allows third-party candidates with great ideas the opportunity to at least be heard.”
Though libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson’s role in the election was peripheral at best, votes for his presidency reached an estimated 1.2 million, surpassing all previous third-party candidate votes and suggesting the small but resilient movement of third-party affiliation is growing.
“Realistically speaking, third parties won’t win in the next eight years, but they can gain publicity and influence on the national stage, and Oklahoma could contribute to this with the addition of a write-in option,” Smith said.
For more information on the resolution, email Kristin Pascoe at firstname.lastname@example.org or Devin Smith at Devin.V.Smithemail@example.com.