Thou­sands of vot­ers reg­is­tered in Oc­to­ber

The Oklahoman - - NEWS - BY DALE DENWALT Capi­tol Bureau dden­walt@ok­la­

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.

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