High early voter turnout ahead of general elections could be results of open governor seat

OKLAHOMA CITY - Although most Oklahoma voters will be heading to the polls on Tuesday, election officials said there are signs more voters may be casting their ballots than in years past.

“We're really on par with the 2012 presidential general election," said Oklahoma State Election Secretary Paul Ziriax.

So far, early voters have had to wait their turn in line at the Oklahoma County Election Board to cast their ballot.

"This is the best thing you could be doing being here today, early voting,” said one early voter on Saturday.

Already, officials with the Oklahoma State Election Board said 165,598 people have voted through either absentee or early voting, which is nearly double the number of early votes cast in the 2014 gubernatorial race.

"Keep in mind, the 2014 general election turnout was so dismal. We beat that in the June primary. I mean, more people voted in that June primary than voted in the general election in 2014,” Ziriax said.

Ziriax believes part of the reason is the fact there's an open governor seat.

"Where there's an open seat for governor, compared to when the incumbent governor is running for re-election and is favored for re-election, our turnout does seem to go up when there are open gubernatorial seats,” he said.

Currently, there are 2.1 million registered voters across Oklahoma. The highest percentage of voters are 65 years old and older, with the second highest number of voters in the 30 to 44 age group.

No matter how you vote, Ziriax said you should take your proof of identity and your patience to make your voice heard.

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