OKLAHOMA - It looks like voter turnout in Oklahoma was up this year.
"After a couple of elections where voter turnout was trending downward, we saw a turnout trend back the right way which is up,” Paul Ziriax, Secretary at the State Election Board, said.
That turnout started last week with a record number of early voters. More than 153,000 people cast their ballot ahead of Tuesday's General Election.
"It blew away the old record," Ziriax said. "Smashed it by about 40,000 people.”
Officials say more than 100,000 Oklahoma voters sent absentee ballots to the Election Board.
Along with Tuesday's numbers, a total of 1,467,560 ballots went through the scanners.
That's a 68% turnout for registered voters.
"We're way up from where we were in 2012 and we're kind of back on par with the kind of turn out we saw and the kind of participation we saw in 2004 and 2008,” he said.
Wwith more people going to the polls, lines were long.
"We received reports from some precincts where you had a line that was already an hour, hour and a half long before the polls even opened and so when you start with that many people up front you're already behind," he said.
"Really the only way to avoid a long line is to do it by mail and that's what we encourage,” Doug Sanderson, Secretary of the Oklahoma County Election Board said. "I think we're still in the mindset of election day. Well election day is the last day to vote."
There were 257 precincts in Oklahoma County and 1,300 people to staff them.
The State Election Board says opening more polling places would require more employees.
At $87 a day, they aren't getting enough takers.
"There really aren't enough people that want to do it. At this election almost half of precinct workers are 71 or older. About 82% are 61 and older,” Ziriax said. "It's a lot of work. It's a hard job, but man it's rewarding because that's the backbone of democracy when you're on the ground and you're making sure people get to vote at the poll."
Another interesting note from the State Election Board: 15,915 Oklahomans left the top of the ticket blank. They didn't vote for any president.
The official results of the election for Oklahoma will be available next Tuesday.
For more information or to sign up for absentee voting, click here.