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Moderate turnout expected in Oklahoma special election for Senate District 43

The number of voters heading to the polls Tuesday in the Oklahoma Senate District 43 special election should top the 9.6 percent of those who cast ballots in the Republican special primary election in August, election officials said.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Published: October 11, 2011

A better turnout of voters is expected in Tuesday's special Senate race in the south Oklahoma City metro area than the anemic number who turned out in August to select the Republican nominee.

About 9.6 percent of registered Republicans in the Senate District 43 race voted in the Aug. 9 primary election won by Greg Childers of Del City.

Childers faces Democrat Kenneth Meador on Tuesday's ballot for the Senate District 43 seat that covers southern Oklahoma County and northern Cleveland County.

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

State Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax said the low turnout in August was expected because the election occurred during vacation season and in the midst of Oklahoma's hottest summer on record.

“Those factors affected the turnout,” he said.

Meador was the only Democrat to file for the post, so no Democratic primary election was needed, which also may have affected turnout.

Ziriax said he's optimistic Tuesday's election will get more response.

“From what I've heard, this race is getting a lot of attention locally on the ground within that district,” he said.

“There seems to be some excitement on both sides regarding this so I'm hopeful that at least by special election standards we would see some improved turnout compared to what we saw with the very low turnout for the special primary.”

Ziriax said it's difficult to predict voter turnout in special elections.

“I would say low to moderate turnout would be expected,” he said.

The Senate District 43 seat was reconfigured and will be moved as part of the Senate redistricting plan that was approved this year. It is moving south to cover all or parts of McClain, Garvin, Stephens and Grady counties.

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