Tulsa County Election Officials Expect High Turnout For Early Voting


Thursday, October 27th 2016, 11:08 pm
By: News On 6


With less than two weeks until Election Day, early voting has been going on in most of America, and voters have been standing in long lines to do it.

Early voting in Oklahoma doesn’t begin until a week from Thursday and lasts only two days and part of another.

At the Tulsa County Election Board, they tell us they’ve been swamped with absentee ballot requests, and they’re bracing for that in-person early voting to begin. And if you're planning on taking advantage of early voting, there are some things you should know to make the process easier.

Thursday, the Tulsa County Board of Elections started processing absentee ballots; so, far, they say it’s similar to the 2012 election, meaning means absentee ballot numbers aren't high.

Board of Elections secretary, Patty Bryant, said that’s because getting them notarized and having witnesses present is hard for most people.

Bryant says if early voting numbers are similar to last year, “They were lined up out the door, around the building, and down the street."

Those three days will likely be their most hectic; Bryant said they processed over 400 people an hour there.

But thanks to legislative action, Tulsa County is one of three Oklahoma counties that have a satellite early voting location.

In Tulsa County, any registered voter can vote at the Board of Elections office or at the Hardesty Regional Library from November 3rd through the 5th - Bryant expects both to be packed.

"I think it will be big and busy, and I'm hoping that Hardesty still allows us to use their location after this election," she said.

In other states that allow people more days to vote early, some are running into long lines - in Austin, Texas, the mayor is giving out a "Letter of Excuse" for workers who spend a long time in voting lines.

But in Tulsa County, Bryant said one satellite location is all the state allows.

"It's really all we can do,” she said, “because we have to duplicate ourselves out there."

So, if you plan to vote early, she recommends avoiding the busiest times.

"On your way to work, during lunch and on your way home from work," Bryant said.

Early voting takes place at the Tulsa County Election Board at 555 North Denver Avenue or Hardesty Library at 8316 East 93rd Street. Thursday, November 3rd and Friday, November 4th you can vote from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. then Saturday, November 5th from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The last day to apply for a mailed absentee ballot for the general election is November 2nd.