Absentee voters could help push turnout to record levels

Monday, October 18th 2004, 6:15 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Voting numbers could reach record levels next month with some help from absentee ballots, election officials say.

County election boards across Oklahoma have mailed more than 45,000 absentee ballots,a survey by The Oklahoman estimates.

Ballots will continue to be mailed through Oct. 27, and in-person absentee voting will be allowed the Friday, Saturday and Monday before the Nov. 2 election.

In 2000, half of the 77,000 absentee ballots cast came in the three days before the election, state Election Board Secretary Michael Clingman said.

Interest in the number of high-profile races and state questions are thought to be fueling the higher numbers. Voters will elect a president and U.S. senator, as well as decide the fate of state questions that include a state-run lottery and expansion of American Indian gaming.

This year's voter turnout could surpass that of 1992, when then-Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton defeated former President Bush.

``No question, it's going to be higher,'' said Clingman, who added that about 1.4 million votes were cast in 1992 in Oklahoma.