Oklahoma Candidate Has to Use Normal Name on Ballot

Sean 'The Patriot' Roberts won't fly, Oklahoma Election Board concludes
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 27, 2022 2:00 AM CDT
Oklahoma Candidate Can't Appear on Ballot as 'The Patriot'
Oklahoma state Rep. Sean Roberts, R-Hominy, listens Sept. 24, 2014, in Oklahoma City.   (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

A Republican lawmaker who wanted to refer to himself as "Sean 'The Patriot' Roberts" on the ballot can’t use that nickname, the Oklahoma Election Board has ruled. The board decided Monday that term-limited state Rep. Sean Roberts can still run for Oklahoma Labor Commissioner, but he can't refer to himself that way on the ballot. Oklahoma election rules allow a candidate to use a nickname if it’s a name the candidate is generally known by or who does business using the nickname, reports the AP. Roberts’ opponent, Republican Labor Commissioner Leslie Osborn, said there's no evidence Roberts is known as "The Patriot."

She pointed out in her petition to the board that Roberts has appeared on the ballot in seven successive elections as Kevin Sean Roberts or Sean Roberts. In a roughly two-hour hearing Monday, two Republican colleagues testified they had never heard Roberts referred to that way. But Roberts himself stated that anywhere from two to 600 people call him that, and he shared a birthday card in which a friend had written, "You truly are The Patriot." His attorney also pointed out others who have used nicknames on the ballot, including Joe Exotic and current state Sen. Blake "Cowboy" Stephens.

The three-person board unanimously decided the nickname couldn't be used, though they didn't go as far as Osborn had wanted, reports the Oklahoman; she had asked he be removed from the ballot entirely. Roberts said in a statement he's considering appealing the board's decision. (More nickname stories.)

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