The line this morning at a northwest Oklahoma City polling place was no surprise to the precinct inspector. Voters were waiting to cast ballots in state primaries when the polls opened at 7 a.m.
Morning is one of the peak times for voting. The other peak times are noon and from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., said Doug Sanderson, Oklahoma County Election Board secretary.
Based on voting in gubernatorial primaries four years ago, officials estimated 25 percent of registered voters would cast ballots today, or 500,000 statewide.
Paul Ziriak, State Election Board Secretary, said reports just before noon showed a steady turnout with the Tulsa area reported to be lighter than expected. The other notable report was from Lincoln County, where Republican turnout was heavier than expected, Ziriak said. Other than a few machines malfunctioning, operations were going smoothly, he said.
About seven people were waiting early this morning at Grace United Methodist Church, 6316 N Tulsa Avenue in Oklahoma City. A steady stream of people continued through the doors throughout the morning.
Morning is a good time to vote, said Mindy Banz, 36.
Banz said she thinks voting is a constitutional right and should be her priority before the workday becomes a distraction.
"The political arena, particularly here in Oklahoma, is pretty interesting and usually pretty fascinating," Banz said. "I think voters here are pretty diligent and will turn out to cast the right ballot to put their party forward for the general election in November."
Banz asked for an "I Voted," sticker with the American flag on it. Precinct 449 inspector Gary Lee had plenty on hand. "We appreciate you voting," Lee said, handing her a sticker.
Banz left the church in plenty of time for work with her new sticker on the left side of her blouse.
"I think voter turnout will get even bigger in November," she said.
Primary elections should be a must for voters, said Wayne Melhiser, 65, of Oklahoma City.
"People need to get out and vote in this primary because this is how some of these unsavory candidates get elected because we don't get out and support who we really want and the wrong guys get in there," Melhiser said.