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Oklahoma Election Board secretary has idea worth considering for local elections

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: February 2, 2012

To avoid a possible runoff election, Ziriax suggests holding a primary election in August for all school board races with more than two candidates. Cockroft's bill would call for a runoff in February.

Combining school board elections with federal, state and county elections would add to the cost because of the logistics involved. School boards would have to use the longer, more expensive, ballots used in federal, state and county races to match the other ballots. Additional ballot storage boxes would need to be bought.

Because about half the state's precincts include more than one school district, Ziriax said, another election official would be needed at those polling places to ensure voters get the correct ballots.

Despite Mills' claim, partisanship already occurs in some school board races without regard to timing of the election. The move to November would give board candidates a better opportunity to reach a much larger voting base than in February.

However, school board candidates would need to compete for voters' attention on the longer ballots. That's another reason to consider adopting Ziriax's suggestion of placing the elections in odd-numbered years, which involve fewer races. The lower turnout in those years also would decrease election costs.

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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