The Pryor Times

January 25, 2013

Sherrer files bill for non-partisan county elections

— OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Ben Sherrer announced he has filed legislation that would make county elections non-partisan in Oklahoma.

Under HB 1295 filed by Sherrer, County elections for Sheriff, Treasurer, Assessor, County Clerk, Court Clerk, and District Attorney would not be partisan.

“I filed this same legislation in 2011 and it failed to receive a Do-Pass recommendation from the Republican majority in the House. Even though the Republicans now hold a greater majority in the legislature I hope they will consider this non-partisan effort to take some of the partisan bickering from our most local governance, “ said Sherrer, a Democrat from Chouteau.

“In the last election cycle I heard from many constituents who were frustrated with the current system, where they can’t always vote for the candidate they want because of party designation in Oklahoma’s closed primary system,” noted Sherrer.

Most recently, the Oklahoma Sheriff’s Association voted unanimously for the first time to support legislation to make sheriff elections non-partisan. There is growing support on a statewide basis among other county elected officials for such a move. Lisa Melchior, the Mayes County Assessor, supports such a move. “We aren’t involved in crafting public policy or laws. We apply the law made by the legislature and our job function really isn’t tied to party affiliation.”

The deadline to file legislation was Jan. 17. The legislative session will convene on Feb. 4.