OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma Democrats are opening up their presidential primary elections to Independent voters.
The move allows Oklahoma’s 261,000 registered Independents to vote in the Democratic presidential primary on March 1.
Party leaders say Independents are the fastest growing group of registered voters in Oklahoma and their voice should be heard too.
“Today, we make history. Yesterday, over 260,000 registered voters in Oklahoma had no voice selecting who would be on the general election ballot. Today, the Oklahoma Democratic party is giving these Oklahomans a voice. The hallmark of the Democratic Party is courage, innovation and openness. And so we welcome Independent voters to join us in selecting Oklahoma’s next generation of leaders.
“As we celebrate the ideas and participation of a quarter of a million new voters in the Democratic primaries, let me thank the many leaders and visionaries who made today’s historic action become a reality. This is not one person’s accomplishment, but the achievement of a political party that is dedicated to growth and evolution.
“From former governors and gubernatorial nominees to our legislative leaders who supported reaching out to these disenfranchised Oklahomans, Seventy percent of Oklahoma’s convention delegates voted to approve this action. The Democratic Party’s Central Committee gave its unanimous support. And so tomorrow, a quarter of a million Oklahomans now are part of the Democratic Party’s process for selecting the best candidate to shape the future of our State and our country.
“To all Independent voters in Oklahoma, we welcome you,” a statement from Mark Hammons, the Oklahoma Democratic Party chair.
Republican leaders say they do not have any plans to do the same. The chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party told NewsChannel 4 that they support Republican candidates being elected by registered Republicans, adding that the Democrats’ move sends a clear message that they have lost the support of the voters.