Tulsa County Election Board Starts Counting Absentee Ballots

Friday, October 9th 2020, 6:12 pm
By: Emory Bryan

TULSA, Okla. -

Tulsa County started counting ballots Friday for the 2020 presidential election.

The results, even from the first ballots counted, are locked away until election day. The election board office spent a full Friday registering voters, taking in ballots and starting the count for November 3.

The election board is scanning ballots in batches, while 15 people work on other boxes of ballots already turned in.

For the early absentee ballots, the paperwork is checked over and the ballots set aside for counting - though the running totals are locked away.

 “We have no idea of who might be winning or losing at this point, we only know how many ballots we have processed,” Election Board Secretary Gwen Freeman said.

A steady stream of people were coming and going at the Tulsa County Election Board. Many were registering - on the last day possible - to qualify for the vote in November.

“Just to finally vote, I'm 18, this is my first election, so let’s go for it,” first-time voter Evan Peace said.

Many more people are walking in because they trust hand delivery more than the post office, dropping off those green mailing envelopes in person.

“That way we know at least it got dropped off,” Cindy Jenkins said.

Jim and Twalla Kazmierski decided to not take their chances on election day.

With COVID, we said hey let's do absentee and not really have to get out with the public,” Jim Kazmierski said.

The election board is taking precautions too.

The staff is behind a barrier as they take in ballots from four to 500 hundred people each day. There are already a record number of requests for absentee ballots, and more people than ever bringing them back.

In previous elections, the board has only needed a couple of days to handle absentees.

This year, they're expecting to work at it almost continuously from now until election day.