Thousands of voters registered in October
Almost 12,000 Oklahomans turned in voter registration forms in the past two weeks, according to the Oklahoma State Election Board.
That number is expected to change next week as last-minute registrations arrive by mail at the board’s Oklahoma City office.
“Those (numbers) fluctuate,” said Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax. “A lot of the registrations are county transfers; they’re registering in a new county and then they end up a few days later getting deleted in their old county. They’re always bouncing around.”
The deadline to turn in or postmark voter registration forms was Friday. Voter forms submitted after the deadline won’t be processed until after the Nov. 6 election.
Figures show that of the 11,979 registrations processed in October, the vast majority are Republican. More than 8,000 sided with the GOP, with just 1,169 voters registering with the Democratic Party.
More than 2,000 independent voters filed registrations, and the newly recognized Libertarian Party picked up 305 members.
The Republican Party is a few thousand voters from topping 1 million party members in Oklahoma. Democrats had about 1 million voters just seven years ago, but their numbers have dropped along with their representation in state government posts.
Oklahomans are registering to vote in impressive numbers, Ziriax said. The surge in voter registrations coincided with historic turnout in June’s primary election, which saw several incumbent lawmakers ousted and medical marijuana approved by voters statewide.
“I’m very hopeful that the increase in voter registration leads to an increase in voter participation in November, compared to previous gubernatorial elections,” said Ziriax. “(O)nce all of the voter registration applications are processed, we should be well over 2.1 million voters heading into the general election in November.”
Election officials also reported on Friday that a new online registration system is working as planned. The system only updates information for current voters; a process for new voters to register online is still a few years away.
More than 627 Oklahomans updated their registration through the election board’s website on Friday alone.