Oklahoma’s voter rolls have surged since January, with nearly 2.1 million voters now registered as of the end of September, State Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax said Friday.
The same is true of Sequoyah County where voters appear to be taking their politics seriously before the Nov. 6 general election. Registered voters in Sequoyah County surged from a total of 20,574 in January to 21,259 as of Sept. 30.
“And our desks are covered with new registrations,” an employee at the Sequoyah County Election Board in Sallisaw reported.
The deadline to register to vote in the general election is Friday.
Official state statistics from the end of September show total voter registration in the state had a net increase of 76,256 from Jan. 15 to Sept. 30 this year, with 2,092,413 total registered voters in the state.
In Sequoyah County, total registered voters as of Jan. 15 was 20,574. As of Sept. 30, total registered voters was 21,259, an increase of 685. The numbers disclose that most of the increase was with registered Republicans. In the county, Republicans numbered 6,973 on Jan. 15 and 7,411 on Sept. 30, an increase of 438. Independents increased from 2,289 on Jan. 15 to 2,500 on Sept. 30, an increase of 211.
The county remains predominately Democrat, but only 15 new Democrats registered between Jan. 15 and Sept. 30. In January the county had 11,292 Democrats and as of Sept. 30 the county had 11,307 registered Democrats, an increase of only 15. Libertarians did better with 20 registered as of Jan. 15 and 41 registered as of Sept. 30, an increase of 21.
According to the election board, many voters are also changing their party affiliation. County records show that, between July and October, 20 Republicans changed their affiliation and became Democrats. Then 156 Democrats changed their affiliation and became Republicans. Nine Independents changed affiliation to vote as Democrats. One Libertarian decided to be a Republican, and 29 Independents also changed affiliation to become Republicans. One Democrat changed to Libertarian; three Independents changed affiliation to Libertarian; 15 Democrats changed affiliation to Independent; and five Republicans became Independents.
Ziriax said, “As Oklahoma's chief election official, I am pleased to see this increase in the voter rolls. There is still plenty of time to register to vote for the general election. I am hopeful this points to a larger voter turnout compared to the 2014 gubernatorial election.”
Statewide, Republicans accounted for nearly 60 percent of the net increase in voters, with the number of registered Republicans increasing by 44,543 since Jan. 15.
Independents saw the second largest net increase, up 23,438 since January. The number of registered Democrats increased by 5,142 since January, while the number of registered Libertarians increased by 3,133.
As a percentage, Republicans now make up 47.2 percent of all registered voters in the state – up from 46.8 percent in January. Independents saw the largest percentage increase, moving from 14.8 percent of registered voters in January to 15.4 percent now.
Democrats are the second largest political party with 37 percent of registered voters, down from 38.2 percent in January. Libertarians became a recognized political party in 2016 and now make up 0.4 percent of Oklahoma voters, nearly double their percentage in January.
As recently as 2014 Democrats had the largest number of registered voters in Oklahoma, but decades-old trends have seen growth in the percentage of registered voters who are Republicans and Independents. In 1990, nearly 65 percent of Oklahoma’s registered voters were Democrats while 32.7 percent were Republicans and 2.4 percent were Independents.
“In 2018 we have continued to see the long-term trend of an increasing percentage of Oklahoma’s registered voters who are Republicans and Independents,” Ziriax said.
Oklahomans have until Friday to register to vote or update their voter registration for the 2018 General Election. To register, a person must be a U.S. citizen, a resident of the State of Oklahoma and at least 18 years old on election day. Visit http://elections.ok.gov to learn more about voter registration in Oklahoma.
Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director
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