Several Tulsa Precinct Polling Places Deal With Election Day Problems

Tuesday, November 7th 2006, 10:25 am
By: News On 6

Two Tulsa precinct polling locations experienced problems on Election Day. One in a Tulsa school, closed while the building was locked down. Another opened more than an hour late.

News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan says the precinct polling place at Faith Nazarene Church at 525 North Oxford, opened an hour and 15 minutes, because the precinct inspector overslept.

It led to some legal action Tuesday afternoon, but one thing is still uncertain, whether any voters were turned away and won't have the chance to get back here and vote.

Charles Foster wanted to do his civic duty on Election Day first thing. "I showed up to vote at 7 o'clock this morning and some of the workers were here and they said they didn't have any ballots." The precinct wasn't open, because the worker in charge - the one with the ballots - showed up late. Foster says while he waited to vote - a lot of people left. "They must have been 50 people who come by here to vote that went on to work."

One of the candidates counting on some votes from that precinct is Eric Proctor, a Democrat running for state representative. He filed for an injunction Tuesday, hoping a judge would keep the precinct open late to make up for the late start. The judge turned down his request. “And the door was literally locked in their face and they only recourse they had was to wait in their cars for over an hour. Folks in my district have to get to work.”

Tulsa County Election Board secretary Gene Pace said the delay would be investigated and the inspector possibly disciplined. "It happens, you got 900 volunteers out there and they do us a good job overall, but they're human beings and these things are bound to happen."

There was another problem at the precinct inside Celia Clinton Elementary School at 1700 North Harvard. The school was briefly locked down, with some voters kept inside and others locked out.

The election board says the delay only lasted about 20 minutes and was unsure if any voters left without casting their ballot.

There are 262 precincts in Tulsa County and to our knowledge these were the only ones with problems resulting in voters being turned away.