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State vote third highest ever


OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ All in all, it was a good turnout in Oklahoma, considering the lack of activity in the state by presidential candidates in the months leading up to the general election, officials say.

A total of 1,244,253 Oklahoma went to the polls Tuesday to vote for Republican George Bush, Democrat Al Gore or two other candidates.

Bush won the state's eight electoral votes. He received 60 percent of the Oklahoma vote to Gore's 39 percent.

State Election Board Secretary Lance Ward said that only two weeks prior to the election, he was expecting a very low turnout because ``the presidential candidates had basically written Oklahoma off.''

They were running no local television commercials, nor did they make any campaign appearances in the state.

But then things started ``going crazy'' at election boards in the 77 counties, with heavy requests for absentee ballots and information, Ward said.

He then upped his prediction to between 1.2 million and 1.5 million.

While the final vote was on the lower end of the prediction, he said it was a very good turnout, all things considered.

``The turnout was clearly due almost entirely to the national activity around the race for president of the United States,'' Ward said Wednesday. ``There was no activity in Oklahoma.''

Oklahoma only had one other statewide race in the ballot _ for Corporation Commission member. Incumbent Bob Anthony won that race against little-known opponents.

The highest turnout for an Oklahoma election was in 1992 when 1,435,000 voters went to the polls to choose between Democrat Bill Clinton, Republican President George Bush, the Texas governor's father, and Ross Perot, the Reform Party candidate who drew a significant Oklahoma vote.

The second highest Oklahoma vote was in 1984 when 1,290,000 Oklahomans went to the polls, most of them to vote for Republican Ronald Reagan over Democrat Walter Mondale.

A Democrat has not won in Oklahoma in a presidential race since 1964, when Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas defeated Republican Barry Goldwater.

Prior to that, Harry Truman was the last Democrat to carry Oklahoma, even though it has been heavily Democratic in voter registration for most of its history.

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