The top official at the State Election Board says voter registrations have surged in the weeks ahead of the upcoming Nov. 6 general election. Deadline to register is Friday, Oct. 12.
MIAMI – Anticipation is high and political tensions taut in Oklahoma and across the nation as the date for midterm elections fast approaches.
Friday, Oct. 12 is the last day for Oklahoma residents wishing to participate in the Nov. 6 general election to register to vote at any of the state's 77 county election boards.
Although voter registration applications may be submitted at any time, voter identification cards cannot be issued during the 24 days prior to an election. If a registration application is received by the county election board during the 24 days before an election, applicants will not receive a voter identification card until after the election.
Last week, Oklahoma State Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax said voter registrations were surging ahead of the November election with more than 76,000 people having registered to vote since Jan. 15. A total of almost 2.1 million in the state as of the end of September.
“As Oklahoma's chief election official, I am pleased to see this increase in the voter rolls,” Ziriax said. “There is still plenty of time to register to vote for the general election. I am hopeful this points to a larger voter turnout compared to the 2014 gubernatorial election.”
Taking the lead in registrations are Republicans, comprising nearly 60 percent of new voters in the state with numbers increasing by more than 44,000, according to Ziriax.
Registered Independents followed with an increase of over 23,000 and Democrats seeing a boost of more than 5,000 while Libertarians saw growth by almost 3,000, according to the latest data from the State Election Board.
Republicans make up 47.2 percent of registered voters in the state and Democrats 37 percent, with Independents making up 15.4 percent.
“In 2018 we have continued to see the long-term trend of an increasing percentage of Oklahoma’s registered voters who are Republicans and Independents,” Ziriax said.
Oklahoma voters will decide between federal, state, legislative, district and county officers on Nov. 6 along with 5 state questions. Party candidates were finalized in the June and August state primaries, narrowing down a crowded field of contenders.
On the federal level, Ottawa County voters will choose between Democrat Jason Nichols, Independent JohnForeman, Libertarian Richard Castaldo, and incumbent Republican Markwayne Mullin for U.S. Representative of Oklahoma's Dist. 2.
In the gubernatorial race, voters will decide between Democrat Drew Edmondson, Libertarian Chris Powell, and Republican Kevin Stitt.
Seeking the office of Lieutenant Governor are Democrat Anastasia Pittman, Independent Ivan Holmes, and Republican Matt Pinnell.
In the State Auditor and Inspector race are Libertarian John Yeutter and Republican Cindy Byrd.
Vying for Attorney General are Democrat Mark Myles and incumbent Republican Mike Hunter.
Up for the seat of State Treasurer are Independent Charles de Coune and Republican Randy McDaniel.
In education, Democrat John Cox is running against incumbent Republican Joy Hofmeister.
For the Insurance Commissioner voters will decide between Democrat Kimberly Fobbs and Republican Glen Mulready.
The final state seat is a three-way race between Democrat Ashley Nicole McCray, Independent Jackie Short, and incumbent Republican Bob Anthony.
This year Ottawa County residents will also cast their vote for the Dist. 7 Representative seat between incumbent Democrat Ben Loring and Republican William Leonard.
On the county level, the non-partisan race for Ottawa County Associate District Judge is between Jennifer Ellis McAffrey and Douglas Pewitt and the District 1 Ottawa County Commissioner seat is between Democrat Mike Furnas and Republican Mike Moore.
Five state questions have been qualified for the Nov. 6 general election concerning optometry services, crime victims, a joint ticket for the seats of Governor and Lieutenant Governor, a new budget reserve fund, and lifting restrictions on building funds for local schools.
State Question 793 seeks to allow for retail optometry permitting an optometrist’s clinic to be located inside and considered part of a retail business, according to the Oklahoma Policy Institute.
State Question 794, known as 'Marsy's Law', seeks to expand the rights of crime victims in the Oklahoma Constitution. Marsy's Law was initially passed in California in November 2008 as Proposition 9, the Victim’s Bill of Rights Act of 2008.
State Question 798 would allow Oklahoma voters who currently cast separate votes for the seats of Governor and Lieutenant Governor to amend the Oklahoma Constitution to have Governor and Lieutenant Governor candidates run on a combined ticket as currently allowed in 26 other states.
State Question 800 would create the state's third budget reserve fund, beginning July 1, 2020. Passage would mean an amendment to the Oklahoma Constitution to allow a trust fund that would take five percent of the collections from the gross production tax on oil and gas to be deposited in the Oklahoma Vision Fund, according to the Oklahoma Policy Institute.
State Question 801 would amend the Oklahoma Constitution to revise how local school districts can utilize a portion of their funding received through property taxes.
The last day to register to vote in the general election is Friday, Oct. 12. The deadline to request an absentee ballot is 5 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 31, according to the Ottawa County Election Board.
Early voting dates for the general election in Ottawa County are Thursday and Friday, Nov. 1-2 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 3 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Ottawa County Courthouse Annex Community Room, 123 E Central Ave., Miami.
Where to Vote
Ottawa County Precinct Polling Location Map | Use +/- to Zoom
Oklahoma's proof of identity law requires every voter who votes in person to show a photo ID that has been issued by the United States government, the State of Oklahoma, or a federally recognized tribal government.
Voters may also use the free voter identification card they received by mail from the County Election Board when they registered to vote.
Voters can review State Questions and their full ballot language at the Oklahoma Secretary of State website, https://www.sos.ok.gov/gov/questions.aspx.
The Oklahoma Policy Institute, a non-partisan independent policy think-tank, has also created a comprehensive guide on the State Questions that can be accessed online at https://okpolicy.org/oklahoma-2018-state-questions-and-elections.
To download a voter registration form, confirm your registration, or view a sample ballot, visit the Oklahoma State Election Board website, https://www.ok.gov/elections, or call the Ottawa County Election Board at 918-542-2893.
Dorothy Ballard is the managing news editor of the Miami News-Record. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @dm_ballard.