Noble- October 17th For immediate release:When a state candidate’s name appears on an official ballot twice it should raise questions of fairness and equality in our election process. House District 20’s current Republican incumbent, Bobby Cleveland, is on Oklahoma’s official ballot TWICE this November, and this apparently isn’t the first time he’s attempted an ethically questionable election ploy. According to a 2012 press release by the Oklahoma Democratic Party, “Republican candidate Bobby Cleveland needs to tell the voters what he pled to in order to receive a deferred prosecution, when he was caught voting twice in the same election, which is a felony under Oklahoma law. In order to receive a deferred sentence like he did, he would have had to submit a plea to the court.” Source: http://okdlive.wpengine.com/did-can
Now Cleveland is blurring the election procedure’s ethical lines once again, his name appears as an elector for Donald Trump, and again as a candidate for Oklahoma’s State House of Representatives in District 20. Appearing twice on an official state ballot is an undue influence on voters, and a violation of the public trust. It is a deliberate act of confusion and persuasion perpetuated on Oklahoma voters who may not understand the complexities of our election laws. When voters aren’t clear whether they are voting for someone based on their capacity as an elector, or being misled into believing that a state candidate has an endorsement by a Presidential Nominee where none actually exists, it creates an environment of mistrust between our state election process and the people of Oklahoma
Unfortunately, Oklahoma law seems to permit this type of underhanded political maneuvering, but only for State Officials. “The electors for President and Vice President, hereinafter referred to as Presidential Electors, shall be registered voters of Oklahoma; provided, however, that no United States Senator or United States Representative or person holding an office of trust or profit under the United States shall be a Presidential Elector.” 26 O.S. Sec. 10-104.
This law shows that not only do our legislators know this practice is an undue influence on voters and a violation of our state’s duty to hold a fair and impartial election process, but that they are deliberately refusing to hold themselves to the same standards as United States Legislators.
This is the kind of voter exploitation that our state election board has a duty to prevent by keeping our election process impartial, fair, and free from corruption; however, after calling the state election board our office was told that this ethically questionable practice is historically consistent with previous elections.
Political party advantage on the ballot being excused because of historical consistency should never be the official position of the state agency charged with our last line of defense against political corruption. It is time to use our voices and our votes to send a clear message that this type of questionable conduct in our system will not be tolerated. We are urging concerned voters to call the election board and ask for a fair and impartial election process this November by asking them to remove elector’s names from the ballot.
The election board can be reached at:
Address: Oklahoma State Capitol, 2300 N Lincoln Blvd, Oklahoma City, OK 73105
Phone:(405) 521-2391 Hours: 8AM–5PM