First Day Of Early Voting Sees Strong Turnout In Northeast Oklahoma

Thursday, June 21st 2018, 7:07 pm
By: Emory Bryan

Oklahomans started voting Thursday in the state primary and to decide a state question on medical marijuana.

Turnout is already strong for a mid-summer election with several counties reporting lines in the morning when the polls opened for early voting.

One county believes a new notification system might be helping their turnout.

In the first couple of hours of early voting, in Tulsa, 500 people cast ballots.

"There's not really much of a wait. People can typically get signed up and get in and out of the building within a few minutes,” said Tulsa County Election Board Secretary Gwen Freeman.

Early voting is a growing trend statewide. It runs through Saturday and anyone who is registered can vote early.

6/21/2018 Related Story: June 26 Primary Election Guide

"I'm going to be out of town so I decided to vote early and get it in," Diane Forst said.

In Rogers County, they attribute some of the first-day crowd to a reminder the county sent out to cell phones and 25,000 landlines.

It's part of a new voter reminder system the county used for the first time Wednesday night.

“If you sign up for it or live in that area, you will only receive notifications for elections that involve you,” said Rogers County Election Board Secretary Julie Dermody.

The Rogers County's Election Board is using marketing ideas to boost turnout. They put up a "selfie station" to encourage social media posts and keep people out of trouble.

“You won't be so tempted to take a picture of your ballot in the booth since you're not supposed to,” Dermody said.

People use it and post pictures, which reminds people it's time for an election.

The combination of the notification and the social media boost, they believe, is boosting turnout.

Dermody said, “I believe there will be a good turnout. I think we'll have as many as the presidential primary, maybe more.”

In Tulsa, voter registrations are up, and on the first day, turnout was strong as well, with two more days of early voting, before election day Tuesday. Early voting starts again Friday and Saturday at the Tulsa County Election Board and at the Hardesty Library in south Tulsa.