Democratic viewpoints on politics, policy and activism

Weekly News Roundup

On July 14, Our Revolution Oklahoma, a chapter of the group formed by former staffers and supporters of the Bernie Sanders 2016 presidential campaign, had a well-attended organizational meeting in Moore. 80 people from across the state attended. A followup meeting will be held on August 15.

The reconvene of the Oklahoma Democratic Party on July 15 went pretty smoothly once a quorum was present. Anna Langthorn was pretty universally commended for her facilitation of the event, though, afterward, she was seeking out recommendations for orthopedic shoes.

Democratic State Representatives are being pro-active about a possible constitutional showdown over the state budget and resulting special session.

Senator seeks to nail down state’s cost for defending unconstitutional laws – By Barbara Hoberock, Tulsa World, July 23 2017

A new study shows that Oklahoma is dead last in funding for higher education. Add that to the deepest cuts to K-12 public education in the country. Isn’t full Republican control of Oklahoma government great?

Tom Guild, candidate for OK-5, did a 2.5 hour AMA on Reddit.

Meanwhile, Kendra Horn, also running for OK-5, was interviewed by Red Dirt Report‘s Chelsea Copeland.

Most Republicans hold negative view of higher ed  by Ben Felder, published in the Oklahoman, July 23, 2017

Oklahoma delegation in DC works to decimate federal government – DC Report column by Randy Krehbiel in Tulsa World, July 23, 2017.

USGS in Oklahoma showed how following the dots can be really frightening!

A message from Connie Johnson: How to Vote By Mail — and take Oklahoma back

Former state Senator Connie Johnson is an advocate for every progressive cause known, but she has a special calling to increase voter participation, and in particular to increase the use of absentee voting (vote by mail) among Oklahoma Democrats.

Currently running for the Democratic nomination for Governor, Connie sent out this letter recently. Whomever you support in that race, Connie’s advocacy for this tool for increasing turnout is a winning ticket!

Most people don’t know that Oklahoma wasn’t always this way — sold out to the highest bidder, dominated by right-wing extremism, and bankrupted by irresponsible, corporatist leadership. At our formation, we were considered one of the most progressive states in the nation. It was only as recently as 2004 that Republicans took a majority in the House, and then, in 2010, snowballed into a supermajority avalanche.

How did this happen? More importantly, what can we do about it?

Among other things, one of the most successful strategies of the Right is that they push hard for their supporters to Vote By Mail. Traditionally speaking, the candidate who wins the absentee vote wins the election.

The advantages are vast, and the implications for the minority voice are profound:

  1. Never miss an election. Every ballot will be delivered straight to your door three (3) weeks prior to each election, large or small, meaning you will have three weeks to vote instead of three days;
  2. Have time to research. No matter the candidate, state question, or bond initiative — whatever appears on your ballot, you’ll have plenty of time to make an informed decision.
  3. Easily notarize. Your local tag agency or financial institution notarizes ballots for free. If you are disabled, or a caregiver to someone who is disabled, your ballot simply has to be witnessed by two people before sending it off.
  4. Throw a ballot party! Various groups, churches or other community organizations can host a ballot party, with notaries present, and everyone can put two first class stamps on their ballots and send them off all at once; and
  5. Still vote in person if you want! You don’t have to use your absentee ballot — but we are asking everyone to please just sign up! The more people who register to vote by mail, the more successful our movement will be.

Sign up to Vote By Mail at okvotebymail.com. It takes less than 5 minutes. Tell your friends and family all of the benefits. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain by trying something new.
The age of reactionary, defensive strategy on the Left is over. It’s time to get proactive.

It’s time to take our state back.

Welcome to the Movement.

Kind regards,
Connie

Welcome to the new Blue Oklahoma

If you have been a previous visitor to Blue Oklahoma, you will find a few changes. Maybe more than a few!

(Scroll down below this announcement for newer posts.)

The site is in new hands, and while we want to build on the powerful legacy left to us by Kurt Hochenauer (who has moved out of state), we also want to turn a page and try out some new ideas and approaches.

More than anything, we want some new voices to populate these pages, and set them to the long-standing mission: examining the many political problems in our great state, and offering ideas for policies that work for the people, instead of the corporations and the small minority of elite power brokers in business and media, and their operatives at 23rd and Lincoln.

If that is something you also desire, I invite you to join us and become a contributing writer. Read more about getting involved.

Please follow us here, on Facebook and/or Twitter, and share our links to your friends and networks.

Please give us your feedback. We would love to hear your thoughts. Use the contact form for a private email message, or comment on any post via your Facebook account (see more about Comment options if you do not have a Facebook account).

Election Board records show voter fraud rarely occurs in Oklahoma

Through an open letters request, The Frontier obtained a January letter from three Democratic Congressmen to the Oklahoma Elections Board, asking about voter fraud incidents in the state.

The result of the Election Board’s nearly three-month investigation into possible voter fraud in the 2016 general election? Nineteen possible instances of potential voting crimes, 17 of which were instances of double votes, such as when a person votes via absentee ballot, then attempts to vote in person on Election Day.

All 19 instances were forwarded to local district attorneys for potential prosecution, said Election Board spokesman Bryan Dean.

“I have no idea what the disposition (of each case) is,” Dean said. “Most of the time double voting is not prosecuted because it happened by accident and they (the DAs) don’t want to go after a little old lady who voted twice.”

The article also looks at the more recent effort by a Trump administration commission headed by Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach to investigate what they say is rampant voter fraud and other irregularities.

The commission, formally referred to as the “Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity,” had sought a bevy of information on Oklahoma voters, including full names, addresses, birth dates, political affiliations, the last four digits of each voter’s social security number, voting history beginning in 2006, felony convictions, any information about voting history in other states, military information and “overseas citizen information.”

Many states are refusing to participate, saying the effort is a veiled attempt at voter suppression and violates privacy of voters, and no state has yet found any evidence of fraud any different than the minimal levels in Oklahoma.