Oklahoma: State, advocacy groups reach agreement on voter rights | Associated Press

Oklahoma residents who seek public assistance from various state agencies will be provided more opportunities to register to vote under the terms of a settlement agreement announced Thursday that would stave off a potential lawsuit over the state’s compliance with federal voting laws. Details of the settlement were released by the Oklahoma State Election Board and several voting rights advocacy groups that had voiced concerns about Oklahoma’s compliance with the 1993 National Voter Registration Act.

Oklahoma: Hundreds of votes go uncounted during November election | Tulsa World

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. … Statewide, a little over half of the 1,604 provisional ballots were cast because the would-be voter’s name did not appear on the registry where the person had gone to vote. Another 699 voters on Nov. 4, were issued provisional ballots after failing to provide a proper ID at the polls. Election workers determined all but 34 of the 699 provisional ballots issued for lack of ID were valid, whereas only 138 of the 878 provisional ballots cast due to a missing registry name end up being tallied.

Oklahoma: Election board denies special election | Associated Press

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.

Oklahoma: Election Board says software to blame for errors in primary | Tulsa World

After a glitch in reporting the June 26 primary election results, the Oklahoma State Election Board has decided to no longer use a subcontractor to report election results on its website, board Secretary Paul Ziriax said Tuesday. The June 26 primary election results initially were incorrectly reported on the agency’s website, causing about a two-hour delay in getting the right numbers posted. The software initially was indicating that some precincts had fully reported, when in fact they had not been fully reported, Ziriax said. He called the errors an “isolated vendor software glitch at the website.” The actual vote totals reported were correct, Ziriax said. “I am 100 percent confident the tabulation occurred correctly,” he said.

Oklahoma: Investigation finds missing ballots accounted for in HD 71 race | NewsOK.com

Precinct workers in Tulsa County mistakenly allowed two people to each vote twice, resulting in the contested and missing ballots in the House District 71 race, a state Election Board investigation found. The investigation results were presented to the state Election Board Tuesday night at the state Capitol. Democrat Dan Arthrell defeated Republican Katie Henke by a single vote. However, the election results already have been nullified by the Oklahoma Supreme Court, and the candidate to hold the state House Seat representing Tulsa will be determined in the November elections. “We certainly don’t want to see things like this happen,” Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax said. “But we’ve certainly learned a lot.”

Oklahoma: Software glitch blamed for delays in reporting election results | NewsOK.com

State Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax said he is embarrassed by a software glitch that delayed posting results of Tuesday’s elections on the agency’s website for about two hours. The numbers were correct, but a problem occurred in the software when the early and absentee voting numbers were transferred to the website, he said Wednesday “We’re going to get to the bottom of this,” Ziriax said. “I’m unhappy, and I’m embarrassed by it.” It’s at least the second glitch in four elections for the software for the new $16.7 million system, which went online earlier this year with election officials promising faster election results and more data. Ziriax said election officials noticed the problem almost immediately and decided to postpone adding updated election figures until the software problem was found. Although the numbers were correct, the software problem erroneously reported in some races that all the precincts had been reported. “This is the displaying of results on a website,” he said. “It is not the tabulation of results. It is not the counting of ballots.”

Oklahoma: House District 71 special election results thrown out by state Supreme Court | Tulsa World

The Oklahoma Supreme Court has invalidated the April 3 House District 71 special election. The 8-0 court ruling means no one won the contested election between Democrat Dan Arthrell and Republican Katie Henke, and the district will go unrepresented in the state House of Representativeness until next year. “It is impossible to determine with mathematical certainty which candidate is entitled to a certificate of election,” the ruling by Chief Justice Steve Taylor says. “Therefore, the certificate of election issued by the Tulsa County Election Board is invalidated and the election is void.”

Oklahoma: Errors reported in vote count | Tulsa World

Two voters in the disputed House District 71 election appear to have had their preferences counted twice because of human errors at separate precincts, state and local election officials said. Meanwhile, two other ballots that apparently were counted by election machines – but somehow were never transferred to the Tulsa County Election Board for safekeeping – are part of a growing legal controversy that could decide the ultimate winner in the April 3 contest between Republican Katie Henke and Democrat Dan Arthrell. On Tuesday, the Oklahoma Supreme Court stopped any further action on the election by the Tulsa County Election Board, the state Election Board or Tulsa County District Court. The high court scheduled the dispute for oral arguments before a referee next Wednesday. On election night, Arthrell won by three votes, but Henke asked for a recount. When sealed boxes of ballots from the vote were opened last week for the recount, election officials found four fewer ballots than the machines reported.

Oklahoma: Two ballots in HD 71 election apparently counted twice, officials say | Tulsa World

Two voters in the disputed House District 71 election appear to have had their preferences counted twice because of human errors at separate precincts, state and local election officials say. Meanwhile, two other ballots that apparently were counted by election machines — but somehow were never transferred to the Tulsa County Election Board for safekeeping — are part of a growing legal controversy that could decide the ultimate winner in the April 3 contest between Republican Katie Henke and Democrat Dan Arthrell. On Tuesday, the Oklahoma Supreme Court stopped any further action on the election by the Tulsa County Election Board, the State Election Board or Tulsa County District Court. The high court scheduled the dispute for oral arguments before a referee April 25.

Oklahoma: Supreme Court referee hears HD 71 election dispute | Tulsa World

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.

Oklahoma: Officials upgrade machines for February votes | NewsOK.com

The next big change in Oklahoma elections since the state stopped counting ballots by hand in 1992 is rolling out in February, promising faster election results and more data. Each of the state’s 1,958 voting locations is getting new ballot scanning machines that cost $2,800 each. The new machines and data system will be used for the first time in the Feb. 14 election.

Elections were canceled by lawmakers for December and January to allow the new system to be installed. “We’re very thankful to have that,” said Paul Ziriax, state Election Board secretary. “If we could have an extra month, we’d take it, but we’ll be ready.”

The new scanners will still take paper ballots, only now more of the data from those ballots will be available to the public online and faster than ever before. County election boards will be able to report local results online, something they weren’t equipped to do before. “We’re going to have far more detail than we’ve ever been able to show before,” Ziriax said. “We’ll be able to drill down and see which precincts haven’t reported.”

Oklahoma: New voting machines are coming, but Oklahoma voters may not notice a difference | Tulsa World

Oklahoma voters will have to learn how to fill in boxes instead of connect lines for the 2012 elections. Otherwise, said state Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax, most won’t notice much difference from other elections over the past two decades.

There will be a difference, though, and a big one. The state will soon begin taking delivery on a new voting system to replace the OPTECH-III Eagle optical scanner machines in use since 1992. Ziriax expects the system to be fully tested and installed in time for the February 2012 school board elections.

“It’s my belief that most people won’t notice a difference,” said Ziriax. “Voters will still be marking their ballots by hand and they’ll still be putting them into a scanner. “The main difference will be that instead of connecting two ends of an arrow, there will be a box to fill in. And the ballots will be a little lighter weight stock.”