Low turnout expected in Tuesday's runoff primary elections

But local issues and a hard-fought battle by Republican and Democratic candidates vying for the 2nd Congressional District seat in eastern Oklahoma may attract more voters.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT AND MEGAN ROLLAND Published: August 27, 2012
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Local races and issues may help draw voters to the polls Tuesday. A poor turnout is expected because of the lack of a statewide race in Tuesday's runoff primary election.

Only eight legislative races — five of which are in the Oklahoma City metro area — are on the ballot.

Turnout could be in the 10 to 15 percent range, political observers say.

“I think it will be a record low,” said Ben Odom, longtime Democratic Party strategist and a former state Democratic Party official. “There's no statewide runoff.”

“It's difficult unfortunately if they're going to the polls and they're only going to mark one box on the ballot,” said Neva Hill, a political consultant who has mostly Republican clients. “It really boils down to the real good voters.

“In some of these races there could be 10 percent turnout,” she said. “And you think about the impact because some of these folks don't have general elections.”

Better turnout is expected in eastern Oklahoma where lively campaigns have been waged by both the Democratic and Republican runoff election candidates seeking get their party's nomination for the 2nd Congressional District seat. It's the only congressional race on the ballot.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Early voting

Early voting continues Monday. Voters taking advantage of in-person absentee voting must cast ballots at the county election board from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday.

Election officials suggest voters contact their county election boards before voting to make sure an election is scheduled in their precinct. Runoff elections for federal, state or county offices will occur in 41 of the state's 77 counties, and 19 counties will have only local elections on the ballot.

State election officials don't make voter turnout predictions, but typically there's a drop-off of voters from the primary election to the runoff primary election, state Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax said.

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