The resolution of a hotly contested special election for an Oklahoma House seat representing Tulsa moved a step closer Monday. At issue is the winner of the special election for House District 71, which pitted Democrat Dan Arthrell against Republican Katie Henke. Greg Albert, an Oklahoma Supreme Court referee, heard arguments in the case Monday. A proceeding in Tulsa County District Court was put on hold pending action by the state’s high court, which may or may not take the case. Attorneys for both sides said they can agree to a series of facts in the case.
On election night April 3, Arthrell appeared to be the winner by three votes of a special election to fill an unexpired term created when then-Rep. Dan Sullivan, R-Tulsa, resigned. A hand recount sought by Henke showed her to be the winner by one vote, and she was then certified the winner by the Tulsa County Election Board. However, two additional ballots for Arthrell were discovered after her certification, appearing to make him the winner.
On Friday, Arthrell asked the Oklahoma Supreme Court to stay certification of the race results by the Oklahoma State Election Board. The board had been set to consider the matter Monday but postponed possible action until Wednesday. State Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax now says the board will not consider certification of the election results until after the legal dispute is resolved.