Now it's the voters' turn to be heard.
After months of candidates ranging from those seeking a county post to the highest office in the land talking about why they should get elected, Oklahoma voters go to the polls Tuesday to accept or reject those arguments.
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.
A heavy turnout is expected, typical during a presidential election. Long lines have been common during early voting Friday, Saturday and Monday at the county election board offices in Oklahoma City, Norman and Tulsa.
Lines also have formed in several rural county election boards.
“If you live in a metropolitan area or a heavily populated area, don't plan on getting in and out of your precinct in 10 or 15 minutes,” Oklahoma election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax said. “I would plan on a considerably longer time.”
Voters may want to avoid peak voting hours, he said. Voters can save time by going to the polls 9 to 11 a.m. and 1:30 to 4 p.m.
Some counties have run short on absentee ballots, which are used during the early voting days, he said.
“Luckily with our new voting system, there is the ability for county election boards to print ballots on demand in a critical situation,” Ziriax said. “That ensures we won't run short.”
Ziriax said voters who are at the polls by 7 p.m. will be allowed to vote. Doors will close at 7 p.m., but polling voting officials will stay until the last voter has cast a ballot, he said.
“If we have really some long lines, there could be some people who are still voting maybe an hour after the polls closed,” Ziriax said.
Voting will go faster if voters make personal notes about how they want to vote, he said. They can take the notes into the polling booth, but they can only use them personally. It is against the law to share notes with other voters.
All registered voters, whether they're Democrats, Republicans or independents, may vote in Tuesday's election. Independent voters were not allowed to vote in the June 26 primary elections or the Aug. 28 primary runoff elections.
While it will be late Tuesday until the fate of some races are known, it's no suspense which presidential candidate will win Oklahoma's seven Electoral College electors.
Polls show Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney with a safe lead over President Barack Obama.
Republican voter registration numbers have steadily increased the past 50 years; the last Democrat to win Oklahoma was Lyndon Johnson in 1964.
The uncertainty is whether the president will win any of Oklahoma's 77 counties Tuesday. He failed to win any in 2008.
Democrats are hoping the president can win a county or two, noting that Romney finished second in Oklahoma's presidential preferential primary in March.
Two hotly contested congressional races in the eastern part of the state also are expected to bring voters to the polls. A Republican win in the 2nd Congressional District would give the GOP control of Oklahoma's congressional delegation for the first time since 2000.
A win by Republican Markwayne Mullin, of Westville, over Democrat Rob Wallace, of Fort Gibson, would strengthen Oklahoma's claim to be the reddest state in the nation. All five U.S. House seats from Oklahoma are on Tuesday's ballot, but the 2nd District race is expected to be the closest. U.S. Rep. Dan Boren, D-Muskogee, is not seeking re-election.
If Mullin would win, it would be the first time in Oklahoma's history that Republicans would hold all of the statewide elected offices, all of the congressional seats and hold majorities in both the state Senate and state House of Representatives.
Republican senators could add to their record-high majority. Republicans have a 32-16 edge; Republicans won two seats in the August primary runoff that previously had been held by Democrats.
Voters will choose senators in 12 districts. Seven senators are seeking re-election.
In the House, Republicans are hoping to at least reach their record high of 70 after the 2010 elections. One death and two unfilled vacancies put the tally at 67-31 at the end of this year's session.
House Speaker Pro Tempore Jeff Hickman, R-Fairview, said Monday he wouldn't be surprised if the House Republicans number 75 after Tuesday's voting.
Thirty-four House seats will be decided in Tuesday's election.
Twenty-two incumbents, 16 Republicans, and two Democrats, hope to return for another two-year term. After the primary and runoff elections, House Republicans hold a 47-20 majority.
In addition, voters will decide whether to retain 12 state appellate court judges. Four state Supreme Court justices, three judges on the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals and five judges on the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals are on the ballot.
Voters will mark “yes” or “no” whether the judges should keep their offices another six years.
Voters also will decide the state of six state questions. Issues requiring a change in the state constitution must win voter approval.
This year voters are being asked whether to:
• Place a 3 percent annual cap on the amount county assessors can increase appraisals.
• Prohibit the use of affirmative action in state government.
• Remove the governor from the parole process.
• Authorize the Oklahoma Water Resources Board to issue bonds to finance a reserve fund for water and sewage treatment projects.
• Abolish the governing commission of the state Department of Human Services, which would clear the way for a new structure and the governor appointing the agency's director under a law passed and signed into law this year.
• Exempt all intangible personal property tax from ad valorem property taxation.
Many counties across the state have sheriff races on the ballot Tuesday, including Oklahoma, Cleveland, Canadian, Logan and Lincoln counties.
In Oklahoma County, Sheriff John Whetsel is being challenged by Darrell Sorrels, a retired sheriff's deputy.
Other countywide offices were decided earlier in the year. Court Clerk Carolynn Caudill went unchallenged in her re-election bid, while County Commissioner Brian Maughan defeated his opponent in the primary and Tim Rhodes became the new court clerk in an August runoff election.
In Payne County voters will consider allowing liquor by the drink sales on Sunday. Currently bars in the county, which is the home of Oklahoma State University, are not allowed to sell liquor on Sundays. The measure has been on the ballot twice, in 1986 and 1988 and was defeated both times.
Voters in Moore will consider a $25.1 million bond issue to fund parks projects, including a new community center, an amphitheater, jogging trails and an aquatic center. There is also a quarter cent sales tax on the ballot in Moore that would go to fund improvements and repairs at existing parks.
STAFF WRITER MEGAN ROLLAND