Certification finalizes results of this month's general election

Wednesday, November 10th 2004, 5:27 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ With the stroke of a pen, state election officials Tuesday certified the results of the Nov. 2 general election in which Oklahomans turned out in record numbers to support President Bush and elect a new U.S. senator and congressman.

But members of the state Election Board did not certify the results of three state legislative races in which recounts have been ordered, leaving them in a legal limbo.

Election Board Secretary Mike Clingman said the results of those races will be certified once recounts are complete and the final vote is known. New members of the state House and Senate are scheduled to be sworn in on Nov. 16.

A recount in the Senate District 32 race, where Democrat Randy Bass of Lawton was the apparent winner by 35 votes, came to the same outcome but with slightly different numbers.

Bass won beat Republican Kenneth Easton 9,854 to 9,803, a margin of 51 votes, according to the results of a recount in Comanche County.

Republican Kenneth E. Easton requested the recount, saying irregularities in absentee balloting and improperly registered voters contributed to his loss by 35 votes in the original count.

Easton has requested a hearing to discuss irregularities in the voting process, including what he says were broken seals on 22 ballot boxes, a disparity between election night precinct counts and recount figures and voter registration.

In House District 78, where David J. Schaffer, a Tulsa Republican, had lost to Democrat Jeannie McDaniel of Tulsa by 34 votes, the vote disparity declined.

McDaniel beat Republican Schaffer 7,931 to 7,907, a margin of 24 votes, the Tulsa County Election Board reported after a 10-hour manual recount.

District court hearings are scheduled Monday in Washita and Kiowa counties where a recount is being sought by John English, a Cordell Republican, in House District 55. According to unofficial returns, English lost to Democrat Ryan McMullen of Burns Flat by 163 votes.

Clingman said votes cast for president and some other races changed slightly but the results of the election were not affected when 200 provisional ballots were added to the totals.

More than 2,600 provisional ballots were cast by voters whose names did not appear on voter rolls at precincts where they showed up to vote. Ballots not counted reflect voters who went to the wrong precincts.

``Provisional balloting is no substitute for going to the right polling place,'' Clingman said.

Clingman said 1,463,758 voters cast ballots in Oklahoma's general election _ more than in any previous election in the state's 97-year history.

``Everything went pretty smoothly, given the fact that we had a record turnout,'' Clingman said.

Sixty-five percent voted for Bush. Republican former Rep. Tom Coburn was elected to the state's open U.S. Senate seat with 53 percent of the vote. Democratic Rep. Brad Carson received 41 percent to 6 percent for independent Sheila Bilyeu.

Democratic state Rep. Dan Boren was elected to the open 2nd Congressional District seat vacated by Carson with 66 percent of the vote over Republican Wayland Smalley.