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The McCarville Report
Search results for: absentee

Matthews Wins SD11 Democratic Race

33 of 35 Precincts Completely Reporting
ABSENTEE
MAIL
EARLY
VOTING
ELECTION
DAY
TOTAL
KEVIN MATTHEWS 88 73 1,235 1,396 47.42%
REGINA GOODWIN 73 95 950 1,118 37.98%
HEATHER NASH 17 12 401 430 14.61%
Total 178 180 2,586 2,944

Policy Institute Urges Approval Of Voter Participation Bills

okpolicy

The Oklahoma Policy Institute today urged legislative approval of measures designed to increase voter participation.

In an email, the Institute’s leader wrote:

Last November, fewer than three in ten eligible Oklahoma voters went to the polls in the General Election. In close to two-thirds of the state, the winner for the House legislative seat had already been decided before November because only one candidate filed for office or the seat was decided in the party primary.

Last year’s election confirmed a pattern where Oklahoma has fallen to the bottom rungs in voter registration, voter turnout, election competitiveness, and other measures. These are all symptoms of what we have referred to as our “broken democracy.”  (see below for information and resources on this issue)

Voting is a cornerstone of our representative democracy and a fundamental right. The good news is that sensible election reform measures that would make it easier for Oklahomans to vote and give us more choices at the ballot box stand a shot of becoming law this session. Over a dozen electoral reform bills were filed this session, and five important measures have made it out of the House or Senate and now await action in committees in the second chamber. These bills are:

  • SB 313 (Sen. David Holt/Rep.Gary Banz): Allows for online voter registration. Rising generations of voters are simply not used to a world where simple tasks like registering to vote must be done on paper.  As of February 2014, 14 states offer fully online voter registration and another five states offer limited online access. While moving to online registration will have some limited start-up costs, the state has already received federal funds that can be used for this purpose, and over time, moving to an online system will save money. Click here for a blog post on the subject. BILL STATUS: Passed the Senate 37-2 and has been referred to the Appropriations and Budget General Government Subcommittee
  • SB 315 (Sen. David Holt/Rep. Elise Hall): Allows voters to opt for permanent absentee voter status. The state already allows for absentee voting, but a new application must be filed each and every election. Absentee voting is preferred by many with physical disabilities, limited transportation, or other obstacles, or who appreciate more time to study the ballot. Under SB 315, a voter can choose to receive all ballots by mail until they opt to cancel their absentee voter status or a ballot is returned as undeliverable. BILL STATUS: Passed the Senate 38-7 and has been referred to the House Rules Committee.
  • SB 173 (Sen. Jack Fry/Rep. Gary Banz): Raises the cap on the number of absentee ballots a notary can sign from 20 to 100.  BILL STATUS: Passed the Senate 25-17 and has been referred to the House Elections and Ethics Committee.
  • HB 2181 (Speaker Jeff Hickman/ Sen. Marty Quinn): Lowers the threshold for the number of signatures needed to gain recognition as a political party to 1 percent of the total votes cast in the last Governor’election. Currently Oklahoma has one of the most restrictive ballot access laws in the nation, which has served to keep all but two parties off the ballot.  BILL STATUS: Passed the House  90-0 and has been referred to the Senate Rules Comittee.
  • SB 312 Sen. David Holt/Rep. John Echols: Consolidates election dates for state and local candidates for office to two dates in the spring and two dates in the fall. Currently, elections can be held almost monthly, which serves to drive down turnout. BILL STATUS: Passed the Senate 45-0 and has been referred to the House Elections and Ethics Committee.

If you support these measures, now is a great time to contact your legislators and let them know.

Click here for the Together OK Election Reform page with basic Talking Points for each of the above bills.

Click here to find your legislators.

If you’re a member of an organization that supports increased civic participation, it would be especially helpful if your organization weighed in by formally endorsing these measures, contacting legislators, and writing an op-ed or letter to your local newspaper. Please let OK Policy know if you have suggestions or information to share, or if we can be of any help (info@okpolicy.org).

Thanks for your attention and commitment to strengthening Oklahoma’s democracy.


Senate Passes Election System Change Bills

The full Senate has easily passed three of the proposals introduced by Senator David Holt to modernize Oklahoma’s election system and increase rapidly declining voter participation.

“The three proposals received overwhelming votes of support, and as a result we are well on our way to modernizing our state’s election laws,” Holt, R-Oklahoma City, said.  “In particular, I believe the strong vote for a secure online registration system represents a landmark for election reform in this state.”

In 1992, over 70 percent of eligible Oklahomans participated in the presidential election, but by 2012, that percentage had plunged to only 52 percent, the third-worst in the nation. In 2014, less than 30 percent of eligible voters participated in the statewide general election. A third of eligible Oklahomans are not even registered. There were fewer registered voters in 2014 than there were in 1988, even though the state’s population has grown 22 percent.

The three pieces of legislation advancing to the House are:

Senate Bill 312 (passed 45-0) Consolidates all local candidate elections to one cycle in the spring or one cycle in the fall, minimizing voter fatigue.  As an example, in Oklahoma City this year, school board and career tech board elections were held in February, but city council elections were held in March. The House author is Rep. Jon Echols.

Senate Bill 313 (passed 37-2) Authorizes the Oklahoma State Election Board to create a secure online system where citizens with a driver’s license may submit a voter registration application. The proposed system is supported by the State Election Board Secretary and is more secure and has better fraud protections than the current paper system. Over half the states offer this modern accommodation. Over a third of eligible Oklahoma voters are not registered to vote. Younger voters especially are not used to a world where such tasks cannot be accomplished online. This legislation is co-authored by Senate Minority Leader Randy Bass, who led an interim study on the issue last year. The House author is Rep. Gary Banz.

Senate Bill 315 (passed 38-7) Allows voters to request to be placed permanently on the absentee voter list, rather than the current practice of requiring an unnecessary application each year. The House author is Rep. Elise Hall.


Senate Rules Committee Passes Three Holt Election Measures

The Senate Rules Committee has advanced three of the proposals introduced by Sen. David Holt, R-Oklahoma City, to modernize Oklahoma’s election system and increase rapidly declining voter participation.

“The three proposals approved in committee represent a great start to this important effort,” Holt said.  “I want to thank Rules Chairman Ron Justice for hearing these three bills, and the members of the committee for advancing them.  The bills address significant contributing factors to our current low voter participation.   Consolidating local elections will help turnout by minimizing voter fatigue.  Allowing online registration will have great appeal to millennials, and probably voters of all ages.  Allowing a voter to apply for permanent absentee status cuts out an unnecessary procedure.”

In 1992, over 70 percent of eligible Oklahomans participated in the presidential election, but by 2012, that percentage had plunged to only 52 percent, third-worst in the nation.  In 2014, less than 30 percent of eligible voters participated in the statewide general election. A third of eligible Oklahomans are not even registered. There were fewer registered voters in 2014 than there were in 1988, even though the state’s population has grown 22 percent.

The three pieces of legislation advancing to the Senate floor are:

Senate Bill 312 (passed 11-0) – This consolidates all local candidate elections to one cycle in the spring or one cycle in the fall.  Currently, for example, in Oklahoma City this year, school board and career tech board elections were held in February, but city council elections will be held in March.

Senate Bill 313 (passed 11-0) – This allows eligible citizens with a driver’s license to securely register to vote online. Over half the states offer this modern accommodation. Over a third of eligible Oklahoma voters are not registered to vote. Younger voters especially are not used to a world where such tasks cannot be accomplished online. This legislation is co-authored by Minority Leader Randy Bass, who led an interim study on the issue last year.

Senate Bill 315 (passed 9-0) – This allows voters to request to be placed permanently on the absentee voter list, rather than the current practice of requiring an unnecessary application each year.

Holt authored an additional seven election reform measures which will be eligible for consideration in the 2016 legislative session.


Holt Proposes Election Reform Package

news2Senator David Holt, R Oklahoma City, has introduced a comprehensive election reform package of nine bills and one joint resolution, all intended to increase Oklahoma’s rapidly declining voter turnout.  The concepts proposed by Holt include transitioning Oklahoma to mail elections and adoption of a “top two” electoral system.

In 1992, over 70 percent of eligible Oklahomans participated in the presidential election, but by 2012, that percentage had plunged to only 52 percent, third-worst in the nation.  In 2014, less than 30 percent of eligible voters participated in the statewide general election.   A third of eligible Oklahomans are not even registered.   There were fewer registered voters in 2014 than there were in 1988, even though the state’s population has grown 22 percent.

“Oklahomans are patriotic, but our voting record is undermining that reputation.   Our plunging levels of civic participation are reaching crisis levels,” Holt said.   “This is an important conversation our state needs to have.  This matters because it influences everything else.   Oklahomans hand over billions of dollars to government, and they need to stand up and be a part of this process or they likely won’t care for the results.   Our republic cannot survive if these trends continue. I believe this package of bills, individually and collectively, would increase Oklahoma’s turnout.”

The following are summaries of each piece of legislation and comments by Holt:

SB 310

  • Moves Oklahoma to a mail election in 2020 and beyond
  • All registered voters would receive ballot by mail and return it by mail or in person
  • Oklahoma would be the fourth state to adopt this growing trend
  • Reduces cost of machines and poll workers
  • Addresses growing concerns over how to staff precincts in the future

“This is the concept most likely to dramatically improve Oklahoma’s voter turnout.  The states with mail elections are enjoying turnout rates far higher than the national average.   Receiving a ballot by mail reminds the voter to vote.   It also saves time for the voter by not requiring them to stand in line at the polls.”

SB 311

  • Creates a “top two” electoral system in Oklahoma
  • All candidates, including partisan labels, appear on ballot in August
  • If no candidate receives over 50 percent, top two advance to November
  • All voters are invited to both elections to choose their favorite
  • Brings clarity to process – election day is for everyone, regardless of party or geography
  • Brings growing independent voter base into the process
  • Saves money by streamlining ballots and eliminating one of the three elections

“If you asked a ninth-grader how American democracy works, they would respond that all candidates appear on the ballot and all voters are asked to select their favorite.   This is, of course, not how our process currently works, but it should.   And it would under a ‘top two’ system proposed by this bill.   Like mail elections, ‘top two’ is a growing trend.   Its clarity has the potential to increase turnout and its inclusiveness helps to reach results that more credibly reflect the views of the electorate.”

SB 312

  • Consolidates all local candidate elections to a cycle in the spring or a cycle in the fall

“This increases turnout by not requiring voters to return to the polls time and time again.   For example, in Oklahoma City this year, school board elections will be held in February and city council elections will be held in March.   There is no rational reason for that to occur.”

SB 313

  • Allows eligible citizens to securely register to vote online

“Voter turnout percentages, already disappointing, actually overstate turnout in that they do not account for eligible voters who have not even registered.    This group of unregistered citizens is now a third of the state.  Rising generations of voters are simply not used to a world where simple tasks such as this cannot be accomplished online.”

SB 314

  • Allows unregistered citizens who have missed the 25-day deadline for registration to register and vote if they appear in-person to the county election board during early voting

“It is an irony inherent in the current process that an unregistered person is usually reminded that they have failed to register by election activity that occurs well after they have missed the deadline to register.   This bill essentially extends that deadline to the Saturday before the election by giving those voters an opportunity to register at a place that is equipped for it.”

SB 315

  • Allows absentee voters to request to be placed permanently on the absentee voter list, rather than the current practice of requiring an application each year

“This is intended to increase turnout by eliminating an unnecessary procedure.   This concept essentially adopts mail elections one voter at a time, and would not be necessary if mail elections were adopted as Oklahoma’s official system.”

SB 316

  • Modernizes various aspects of absentee voting
  • Absentee voters could mail a copy of their ID rather than have their ballot notarized
  • Absentee voters may drop off ballot in person and show ID
  • Bureaucratic “in-person absentee” terminology is replaced by “early voting”
  • System of separate forms for incapacitated absentee voters and no-excuses absentee voters is streamlined, though retaining the services offered to incapacitated voters

“Current absentee voting procedures are unnecessarily confusing and archaic.   As one example of ways we can modernize these processes, many people have ready access to copiers but not a notary public.   This bill acknowledges that.”

SB 317

  • Expands and streamlines early voting
  • Adds Wednesdays and Saturday afternoons to early voting
  • Makes the hours of operation the same each day
  • Extends the same early voting opportunities to all elections for elective office

“One concept underlining this entire turnout effort is the idea that the procedures have to be intuitively understood by the public.  Currently, Saturday voting is available for some elections but not for others, and at different times than the other days. Having variable early voting opportunities for different elections is unnecessarily confusing.”

SB 318

  • Lowers the signatures required to get parties and presidential candidates on the ballot

“Though I have no interest in supporting other parties, I believe in free will and am not scared of other candidates reaching the ballot.   Oklahoma famously has perhaps the most restrictive ballot access laws in the nation.   This bill could incrementally increase turnout by bringing in voters who feel unrepresented by the existing options.”

SJR 13

  • Gives the people of Oklahoma the opportunity to lower the signatures required to place issues on the ballot for consideration by the voters

“Interest in civic affairs is hindered by the fact that the people have been essentially shut out of Oklahoma’s petition and referendum process.   I believe in free will and am not scared of seeing more petitions and referendums on the ballot.   This could also increase turnout by involving Oklahomans more in the civic process and offering important questions for their consideration that have maybe been stopped by special interests.”


Oklahoma Policy Institute’s David Blatt: ‘Our democracy is broken’

votecounts

Oklahoma Policy Institute

Oklahoma’s most recent elections saw the lowest voter turnout in over 50 years. Less than one-third of Oklahoma’s voting age citizens participated in an election that chose the state’s governor, the entire Congressional delegation, and numerous other offices. In nearly two-thirds of state House races, the winning candidate took office without any opposition in the general election.

“It’s hard to escape the conclusion that our democracy is broken,” said David Blatt, Executive Director of Oklahoma Policy Institute. A new report from OK Policy  examines what’s behind these disturbing trends and what Oklahoma can do to reverse them.

“As recently as 2006, Oklahomans voted at or above the national average,” said Blatt, who authored the report. “If Oklahoma passed reforms to make it easier, more of us would vote, and more regular people would have a say in the future of our state.”

In surveys, the top reasons given by the registered voters who don’t make it to the polls is that they were too busy, or that an illness or disability stopped them from voting

The report identifies a range of possible reforms to improve democratic participation in Oklahoma, which include:

  • Voter Information Pamphlets - In at least 16 states, state law require that election officials publish and distribute a voter information pamphlet. that helps voters be more informed about the issues and candidates they are voting on.
  • Online Voter Registration - Online registration, already in place in 13 states,  saves money, increases the accuracy of voter lists, is easier for voters, and reduces the chances of Election Day mix-ups.
  • Extend mail-in voting – Mail-in elections, in place in three states, are less expensive and administratively simpler to operate, and eliminate a host of problems associated with voters not being able to get to the polls or not knowing where to vote. Alternately, seven states currently allow voters to opt for “permanent absentee status,” which means that they will automatically be mailed an absentee ballot for each election.
  • Ballot Access Reform – Oklahoma has the nation’s most restrictive ballot access laws. Lowering the threshold for political parties and independent Presidential candidates to get on the ballot, as well as reducing the signature threshold for initiative petitions, would give Oklahoma a fuller range of choices.
  • Open Primaries - In Oklahoma, all primary elections are restricted to registered party voters, which leaves the growing number of political independents with no voice in selecting which candidate will appear on the general election ballot. A majority of states operate some form of open primary system.
  • Instant Run-off Primaries – Oklahoma’s current primary run-off system consistently has been shown to depress voter turnout. An alternative is the instant run-off, or preferential ballot, which allows voters to more fully express their electoral preferences and encourages candidates to engage a broader range of voters.

“We can debate the best solutions, but we can’t deny that the current system is falling short,” Blatt said. “Hopefully  this research will motivate more state leaders to take the problem seriously and make reforms that help more Oklahomans to be informed and engaged citizens.”

You can download the full report at okpolicy.org/brokendemocracy.

You can watch an animated video summarizing the report at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzja2wjBExU.


Weston Comments On Everett Death

The Oklahoma Republican Party responded after news of the untimely death of Democrat 2nd Congressional District candidate Earl Everett after a car crash on Friday. It also responded to a statement by Oklahoma Democrat Party Chairman Wallace Collins in which he called for a special election.

OKGOP Chairman Dave Weston shared, ”We pray that the Earl Everett family will experience God’s peace in this time of hurt and grief. While we may disagree on policy our hearts mourn for their loss.”

Weston continued, ”It has also come to our attention that Democrat Chairman Wallace Collins is calling for a special election. We think this is unconscionable that Collins would be so callous to seek gain less than thirty-six hours from the untimely death of Mr. Everett. People have been voting absentee for a couple of weeks and have been voting in person starting this past Thursday. Suggestions from Wallace Collins that he will work to overturn the votes of an in-process election only serve to disenfranchise voters and disrespects the integrity of the process.”


Voter Registration Deadline Is Friday

votecounts

Friday is the deadline to register to vote in the November 4th general election.

Absentee ballot requests must be filed before October 20th.


Russell Won Absentee, Early Voting Ballots

Early voting results have Steve Russell with a 13 percent lead over opponent Patrice Douglas, the lead fueled n part by Russell’s strong showing in absentee and early voting ballots.

Russell won absentees 1,188 to 946 and early voting ballots 308 to 221.


Will GOP Turnout Top 2010?

Mike McCarville

There are indications today’s Republican  voter turnout could top the 249,069 total in 2010.

Absentee requests were on par with that year and early voting results this morning indicate moderate to heavy volume in some precincts.

There are several reasons the GOP vote today could be higher than in 2010:

1 – The spirited Senate race.

2 – The multi-candidate race for Congress in the 5th District.

3 – The contentious race for schools superintendent.

4 – The race for corporation commissioner.

5 – Ideal voting weather.

And, there are some reasons the turnout in some areas won’t be strong:

1 – The lack of a congressional primary in the 1st District.

2 – The lack of a serious challenge to Senator Jim Inhofe.

All of the major campaigns reportedly have aggressive voter turnout efforts underway.

Overall, the lack of interest in Democrat campaigns could dampen total voter turnout. In 2010, 263,688 Democrats voted in the primary election.

“Democratic turnout will be abysmal,” said Keith Gaddie, a University of Oklahoma political science professor speaking to the Tulsa World. “They (Democrats) have a superintendent primary and that is about it.”

The polls close at 7 p.m. The McCarville Report will have returns as soon as they are available.

How’s the voting in your precinct? Let us know: mccarvillereport@aol.com


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