OKLAHOMA CITY – Hundreds of thousands of Oklahomans flocked to the polls on Tuesday to cast their vote in the primary election.
In many locations across the state, voters were met by long lines and delays.
If you believed there were more people at the polls this Tuesday than in years past, you are correct.
This year, officials with the Oklahoma State Election Board say 39.5 percent of registered voters exercised their right to vote in the presidential preferential primary.
Bryan Dean, with the Oklahoma State Election Board, says voters turned out in record numbers for Tuesday’s presidential primary election.
On Tuesday, 335,554 Oklahoma Democrats and Independents voted, choosing Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination.
On the other hand, 459,542 Republicans voted in the election, selecting Ted Cruz over Donald Trump and Marco Rubio.
“For a presidential primary, this is record turnout,” Dean told NewsChannel 4.
He says Tuesday’s numbers compare to the presidential primary election in 2008, which set the previous voter turnout record for the state.
According to data from the Oklahoma State Election Board, 417,207 Oklahoma Democrats cast their vote in the primary election in 2008.
During that same election, 335,054 Oklahoma Republicans cast their votes.
In all, Oklahomans selected Hillary Clinton in a landslide over Barack Obama and John McCain finished slightly ahead of Mike Huckabee.
Dean says the Democratic and Republican numbers were both record-setting.
However, Tuesday’s numbers set a new turnout record for Republicans.
When asked why he feels so many voters turned out for this election, Dean says that when you don’t have an incumbent president, people often feel like they can have more of an impact with their vote.
As an example, voter turnout numbers dropped drastically in 2012 when Barack Obama was running for his second term.
During that election, only 112,771 Oklahoma Democrats voted, giving Barack Obama the overwhelming majority.
Also, 286,523 Oklahoma Republicans cast their votes in favor or Rick Santorum over Mitt Romney.
Dean says he believes the attention that the candidates paid to Oklahoma played a big role in turnout at the polls.
“Never has the state seen this much attention by candidates before,” Dean said.
Dean says he expects to see ever greater turnout in the general election this November.