Voter Turnout Above 2004 Levels

Tuesday, November 4th 2008, 6:13 pm
By: News On 6

By Ashli Sims, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Tulsa County election workers estimate about 75% of registered voters came out to the polls on Tuesday.  With all of those voters, there were bound to be a few election day hiccups.

The long lines came and went in spurts.  The reason for the lines included a flood of voters and a few technical glitches.

Election workers predicted record turnout.  And, early on the lines didn't disappoint.  A string of voters rushed to cast their ballots first thing.  Some precincts had lines out the door and some with no wait at all.

At a south Tulsa polling place, it was the machines not the voters that caused a back-log.

"At that time it became very chaotic, but we just kept our cool," said Donald Rose at Precinct 119.

Donald Rose says the optical scanner quit working, just when voters were ready to feed in their ballots.

"We called a technician. Came out and got that corrected. And, all votes have been counted. Everyone who voted this morning has been placed through the machine and everything is back to normal now," said Donald Rose at Precinct 119.

Another common election day problem was more human error, than machine.  Tulsa County workers say 15 precincts reported ballot jams.

"There are signs on top of the machines that say insert one ballot at time. If voters would just help us and read those signs, that would eliminate a lot of the voting machine problems," said Shelly Boggs with the Tulsa County Election Board.

Even with the scanning snags and waits up to an hour, election workers say voters stayed in good spirits.

"Everyone was very calm and cool, very patient. Ya know, just a little frustration when the machine wasn't working, but we got that taken care of. everybody seemed to be happy," said Donald Rose at Precinct 119.

Election workers project as many as 274,000 voters cast their ballots on Tuesday.  If they're right, that would be about 20,000 more Tulsa county voters than in 2004.