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Election season

Michael Smith
msmith@ardmoreite.com

Oklahoma voters have until 5 p.m. Friday to register for presidential primary elections next month. According to Carter County Election Board Secretary Diane Hall, voters wanting to change their political affiliation ahead of Super Tuesday will also have until Friday to make the change.

Political parties in the state will narrow down their respective field of presidential candidates with the March 3 primary elections. Also known as Super Tuesday due to the large number of states taking part, Oklahoma is among 14 states and American Samoa holding primaries or caucuses on the same day.

Since 1988, Republican and Democratic winners of Super Tuesday primary elections have gone on to secure their party nominations.

Oklahoma is a closed-primary state, meaning registered voters with a party affiliation can only vote in that party’s primary elections. Last December, the Oklahoma Democratic Party opened their primary elections to registered Independent voters. Independent voters cannot participate in Republican or Libertarian primaries.

For registered Republicans in Oklahoma, President Donald Trump is up against five primary challengers. For registered Democrats and Independents, 14 people are seeking the party nomination. Some of the candidates that will appear on the Democratic ballot have already announced the suspension of their campaigns, including Cory Booker and Julián Castro.

No Libertarian Party candidates filed with the state election board during the candidate qualifying period.

According to data from the Oklahoma State Election Board, the number of registered voters in Carter County dropped slightly between January 2019 and January 2020. Hall said on Monday that the drop of 634 voters in that time was due to a statewide purge of inactive voters.

People who have not cast ballots or updated voter registration in the previous two presidential elections are removed from voter rolls, but Hall said that information is still kept for two years. Voters deemed inactive who either cast a ballot or update their registration within those two years are added back to the active voter rolls.

In other Carter County election news, Hall said a small portion of voters in the extreme northern portion of the county will not have a polling place for elections next week. About 40 voters total near Ratliff City and Davis will have to either cast absentee ballots or take advantage of in-person voting later this week.

For Carter County voters on the fringe of the Velma-Alma School District, two bond issues totaling $765,000 will be considered. Carter County voters in the Davis Public School system can help decide between three candidates for a seat on the board of education. If any candidate does not receive at least 50.1% of the vote, Hall said the top two candidates would take part in a runoff election.

Hall said her office mailed off absentee ballots to those voters in recent weeks but none had been returned by Monday afternoon. Carter County voters wanting to cast ballots in either the Velma-Alma special election or the Davis Board of Education primary must return their absentee ballots to the Carter County Board of Elections by 7 p.m. on Feb. 11. They can also take advantage of in-person voting on Thursday or Friday.