OKLAHOMA CITY (KOKH) — Rep. Andy Fugate announced on Friday that he filed a series of bills that he says would improve election laws in Oklahoma.
“All voters deserve to have their voices heard at the ballot box. Free and fair elections must include all legally cast votes," said Fugate, a Democrat.
HB 1916 and HB 1917 are also carryover bills and address issues where Oklahoma voters are not allowed to elect their own representatives. Fugate said although there were 125 open legislative seats in 2022, just 38 of them appeared on the general election ballot.
HB 1916 would require single-party races to advance the top two candidates from the primary to the general election. HB 1917 would have unopposed candidates stand for retention just like statewide judicial officers.
“Voters should always decide who represents them," Fugate said. "These two bills would restore power to the people."
Fugate also filed HB 1918, a new proposal that would require Oklahoma’s political parties to pay for the cost of closed primary elections.
“Closed primaries are party processes, not people processes," Fugate contends. "Party processes should be paid for by political parties - not by the taxpayers.”
Fugate also filed HJR 1022 to create a state question where voters can decide whether to remove party affiliation from future ballots. Fugate said he's proposing that in response to a request from a Libertarian constituent in his district.