Travis Rice expressed surprise when he was told the ballot he cast earlier this month during the Oklahoma general election hadn’t counted. “That doesn’t make me happy,” Rice said, when informed by the Tulsa World that his provisional ballot had been rejected. “They told me it would count,” the Jenks resident said, quoting what precinct workers told him when he cast the provisional ballot. Rice was among hundreds of voters who cast provisional ballots during the Nov. 4 election that ended up not being counted by election officials, records show. And while nearly all were rejected for valid reasons, some were not counted due to mistakes by election workers, a World investigation has found.
Articles about voting issues in Oklahoma.
The new Democratic leader in the Oklahoma Senate said Thursday he will introduce a bill in 2015 to allow citizens to register to vote online, a move designed to increase voter participation in a state with traditionally poor voter turnout. State Sen. Randy Bass, D-Lawton, studied the issue with members of the Senate Rules Committee and received testimony from party officials and election experts. “We’re just trying to get in line with other states and get more people out to vote,” Bass said. “I think it will be safe and secure.” Rules Committee Chairwoman Sen. A.J. Griffin, R-Guthrie, said she would need to see cost estimates and have assurances the online database was secure before she agreed to grant the bill a hearing.
The Oklahoma Election Board on Wednesday certified the results of last week’s election despite a request by Democrats for a special election in the 2nd Congressional District where Democratic nominee Earl Everett died two days before the vote. After a closed-door session with attorneys from Republican Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s office, the three-member board returned to open session and certified the results based on the attorneys’ recommendation. Oklahoma Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax says state law in this case is pre-empted by federal law.
Will access to public information, peer pressure and a bit of shame send more Oklahomans to the polls? David Glover, 51, a self-described political junkie, hopes so. Oklahoma has seen abysmal voter turnout — so bad that the state ranked third lowest in overall participation during the 2012 elections, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report. Glover says he wants to do everything within his power to change that and get voters to the ballot box for each election. (The next election, by the way, is today’s primary run-off with polls open until 7 p.m.) “I’m trying to figure out how to encourage more people to vote,” said Glover, a self-employed Oklahoma City resident. “There are not many good reasons to vote if you think your vote is not going to matter.”
Political opponents accuse each other of lying all the time, but one Oklahoma congressional candidate took his accusation to a new level this week when he claimed his opponent was actually dead and being represented by a body double. KFOR in Oklahoma reports that Timothy Ray Murray believes Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), his opponent in the congressional Republican primary, was executed three years ago and is being represented by a look-alike. Because he believes Lucas is really dead, Murray said he will challenge the results of Tuesday’s Republican primary, in which Murray received 5.2 percent of the vote. Lucas won the primary with 82.8 percent of the vote. ”It is widely known Rep. Frank D. Lucas is no longer alive and has been displayed by a look alike. Rep. Lucas’ look alike was depicted as sentenced on a white stage in southern Ukraine on or about Jan. 11, 2011,” Murray said in a statement posted on his campaign website. The statement claimed Lucas and “a few other” members of Congress from Oklahoma and other states were shown on television being hanged by “The World Court.”
Oklahoma: Democrats blame hacker for shoe sales pitch — State party website leads to Nike shoe site | Muskogee Phoenix
Perhaps neon yellow Nike running shoes are a tongue-in-cheek allusion to Democratic candidates “running” for office and trying to get people to the polls. Because when many visitors checked the state Democratic Party’s website Thursday, they were promised “Absolute flexibility for a natural run” and told to “Just Do It.” The problem: Those messages came from Nike, not Democrats.
Recent court decisions in Wisconsin and Arkansas may not have direct application to Oklahoma’s voter ID law, but they do give heart to those challenging it, University of Tulsa law professor Jim Thomas said last week. “When I saw the Wisconsin decision, saw it was 91 pages, I was excited,” said Thomas. “It shows the attention the court gave to this case. It increased my confidence that Oklahoma’s law will be struck down.” Thomas represents Tulsan Delilah Christine Gentges in a case now before an Oklahoma County District Court. The lawsuit has followed a winding trail that has taken it from Tulsa County District Court to the Oklahoma Supreme Court and now to Oklahoma County.
The Cherokee Nation Election Commission recently announced it has purchased its own automated election system, which will allow the tribe to run its own elections in 2015. In the past, the Cherokee Nation has contracted with various vendors, including Unicyn and Automated Election Services. According to Cherokee Nation Election Commission Director Connie Parnell, by owning its own equipment, computers and software, the tribe will save hundreds of thousands of dollars and improve election security. “Frankly, it’s more cost-effective,” said Parnell. “The last election in October 2013 cost almost $300,000. Each big election was costing that much, without adding in the cost of runoffs and special elections.”
The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Tuesday reinstated a lawsuit that challenges the state’s voter ID law, ruling that the Tulsa County resident who filed it has legal standing to challenge the law’s constitutionality. The state’s highest court handed down the ruling in a lawsuit filed by Delilah Christine Gentges, who sued the Oklahoma State Election Board after voters approved the law in a statewide election in 2010. The Supreme Court ruled that the law requiring voters to prove their identity before voting was validly enacted. But it reversed a ruling by Oklahoma County District Judge Lisa Davis that Gentges lacked legal standing to challenge the law’s constitutionality on the ground that it violates the free exercise of provisions of the Oklahoma Constitution that guarantee the right to vote.
Gov. Mary Fallin confirmed Friday that the special election to replace U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn will coincide with this year’s regular election schedule. Coburn announced last night that he is resigning effective the end of the current session in December. Two years remain on Coburn’s term. Under state law, a vacancy such as the one occurring because of Coburn’s resignation requires the governor to declare a special election to fill out the remainder of the term, with the election to run concurrently with the regular election.