Elections

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Oklahoma has one of the nation's highest rates of candidates for elected office running unopposed, but a Tulsa nonprofit is trying to change that.

Leadership Tulsa Director of Programs and Community Impact Marcia Bruno-Todd said their new LT Represent class is a nonpartisan program intended to help people better understand what steps they need to take in order to run for and serve in elected or appointed office.

Jake Merrick won the Senate seat once held by Stephanie Bice and several newcomers won city council posts in Oklahoma City, Norman Stillwater and Broken Arrow.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

The Oklahoma Senate passed a resolution on Monday objecting to federal legislation on elections, voting and ethics.

H.R. 1, the For the People Act of 2021, could greatly expand voting access in some states, including Oklahoma. The bill includes requirements for states to set up automatic voter registration, offer same-day registration and hold two weeks of early voting.

Freezing temperatures didn't stop thousands of Green Country residents from voting in local elections on Tuesday.

In Tulsa County, John Fothergill was elected treasurer over Francis Hart III with 71% of the vote. Fothergill has been Tulsa County treasurer on an acting basis since Dennis Semler's retirement in September after 25 years in the position.

Updated Feb. 10, 12:15 p.m.

The Oklahoma House Elections and Ethics Committee advanced a bill to require recounts on State Questions in certain situations.

Voters in Bixby will be asked to approve four bond propositions in April totaling $28.5 million.

Those propositions are $8.5 million for a new fire station south of 141st Street, $16.3 million for five major road projects, $1.7 million for Bentley Park Sports Complex expansion and $2 million for drainage projects.

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt is extending a statewide emergency declaration.

Stitt's announcement Friday ensures Oklahoma voters can cast absentee ballots in November without having their ballots notarized or witnessed by two people.

Because the state of emergency will be in place within 45 days of the election, voters who cast their ballots by mail will only need to include a photocopy of their photo identification or their voter registration card.

City of Tulsa

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum won a second term Tuesday night, taking 51.9% of the votes, according to the Oklahoma State Election Board's unofficial results.

Candidates in Tuesday's elections needed more than half the votes to win outright. Contests where no candidate received more than half the votes will go to a runoff between the top two.

Community organizer Greg Robinson, Bynum's main challenger, won 28.8% of the votes. Project manager Ken Reddick, who painted himself as a more conservative option than Bynum, got 13.8% of the vote. All other candidates got less than 3%.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Two Oklahoma City women, each touting their conservative credentials and support for President Donald Trump, will face off Tuesday in a testy GOP primary runoff for the opportunity to unseat the lone Democrat in the state’s congressional delegation.

Local businesswoman Terry Neese, 73, and state Sen. Stephanie Bice, 47, are locked in a bitter contest for the nomination after neither secured more than 50% of the vote in a nine-way June primary. Neese led the field with 36% of the vote to Bice’s 25%.

Polls are open Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Today on StudioTulsa -- in advance of the August 25th mayoral, city auditor, and City Council election -- we continue our series of conversations with candidates seeking the office of Tulsa mayor. Our guest is Craig Immel, who's running as an Independent. Immel's "Move Tulsa Forward" website lists the following key "values and priorities" at its home page: education, local control, public safety, accountability, social justice, and economic development.

On this installment of StudioTulsa, we begin a series of programs featuring conversations with candidates seeking the office of Tulsa mayor. With a non-partisan primary coming up on August 25th, voters will either elect (or re-elect) Tulsa's next mayor -- if any one candidate gets over 50% of the vote -- or the field will be narrowed down to two mayoral candidates, who will in turn appear on the November ballot.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

With results certified and some time to reflect, Tulsa County’s top election official said Monday the first contest during the pandemic went fairly well.

Election Board Secretary Gwen Freeman said some of the lessons learned may be useful for a local election in August and the November general if the coronavirus is still circulating as many health experts predict.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

The field is set for Tulsa’s municipal elections in August.

Seven men are running for mayor against incumbent G.T. Bynum, including three black men with ties to Greenwood: community organizer Greg Robinson, Black Wall Street Gallery owner Ricco Wright and restaurant owner Ty Walker.

File photo

The Tulsa Board of County Commissioners approved a resolution on Monday to let county employees take up to three days of paid leave to be poll workers through the 2020 election cycle.

County Commissioner Karen Keith said with the COVID-19 pandemic, Tulsa’s go-to population of poll workers may be sitting this one out.

"Most of our poll workers are elderly. So, we need some 800 poll workers to man the polls for the June election. We’ve got three elections coming up, including the November election, which is huge," Keith said.

Serge Melki on Flickr, licensed under CC BY 2.0

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The League of Women Voters of Oklahoma and two voters at high risk of contracting the coronavirus are suing the state to make it easier for residents to cast absentee ballots by mail.

Tulsa County incumbents whose offices are on the ballot in June have filed for re-election.

Sheriff Vic Regalado, County Clerk Michael Willis, Court Clerk Don Newberry and District Two Commissioner Karen Keith are all seeking another term.

Keith has at least two challengers, county employees Josh Turley and Eddy Barclay.

Candidates for county office must file paperwork at the Tulsa County Election Board by 5 p.m. Friday.

Candidates for county elected offices need to file paperwork by 5 p.m. Friday, and if you’re doing it in person, it will be done via drive-through service.

Tulsa County Election Board Secretary Gwen Freeman said people are not being allowed inside the office during the COVID-19 emergency, so a remote doorbell has been set up outside.

The Tulsa Public Schools Board on Monday officially moved to postpone next month’s runoff elections for two seats until June 30.

School boards and other local entities are allowed to reschedule their April 7 elections because of the COVID-19 pandemic under an emergency declaration from the State Election Board secretary.

TPS Board member Suzanne Schreiber said while moving back the election is a difficult choice, it’s the right one, considering most poll workers are older Tulsans with higher risk of serious cases of COVID-19.

Two Tulsa School Board seats up for grabs in elections Tuesday will go to a runoff in April.

In District 5, teacher-turned-insurance agent John Croisant garnered 43.8% of the vote and will face former Republican state House candidate Shane Saunders, who got 26% of the vote.

District 5 incumbent Brian Hosmer chose not to run again.

Our guest is Robert Kuttner, co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect, who is also a former columnist for BusinessWeek, the Washington Post, and the Boston Globe. He joins us to discuss his new book, which argues that the 2020 presidential election will determine the very survival of American democracy. To restore popular faith in government -- and win the election -- Kuttner maintains that Democrats must nominate and elect an economic progressive. "The Stakes" explains how the failure of our economy to serve ordinary Americans effectively paved the way for a demagogic president.

Novelist Thomas Mallon is our guest. His latest historical yarn, which he tells us about, explores the George W. Bush White House. It's called "Landfall," and per The Wall Street Journal: "As in Mr. Mallon's many other novels, the writing is crisp and witty, the central characters complex and sympathetic in surprising ways, the narrative structure tight." And further, from The New York Times Book Review: "Entertainingly bitchy.... Smart and knowing and absorbing.... Extremely well-made.... The prose is a pleasure.... 'Landfall' is fascinating." Please note that Mr.

We chat with Ian Shapiro, the Sterling Professor of Political Science and director of the MacMillan Center at Yale University. He's the co-author of a new book, "Responsible Parties: Saving Democracy from Itself," which he tells us about. The book engagingly explores why and how the form of government known as democracy has -- quite strangely and paradoxically -- reduced if not eradicated trust in political systems worldwide.

Our guest on ST is Dr. Sunil Aggarwal, who grew up in Oklahoma and is now based in the Seattle area. He's a medical marijuana expert who's also a clinical instructor at the University of Washington School of Medicine; his focus is on the use of cannabis in clinical practice, medical research, and education. Dr. Aggarwal holds degrees in medicine, medical geography, chemistry, philosophy, and religious studies. He'll be speaking in support of State Question 788 today (the 8th) here in Tulsa, and then he'll do so tomorrow (the 9th) in Norman, Oklahoma.

The "penny sales tax" for education didn't pass, but voters here in the Sooner State did back criminal justice reform; the "Right to Farm" State Question was rejected, yet Republicans won big all over Oklahoma on Election Day, as, indeed, they did nationwide. On this edition of StudioTulsa, we are joined by David Blatt of the OK Policy Institute, an non-partisan, non-profit think tank.

On this edition of ST, a compelling discussion with Ari Berman, a political correspondent for The Nation whose writing has also appeared in The New York Times and Rolling Stone (and who is a frequent commentator on MSNBC and NPR). We are discussing Berman's widely acclaimed book, "Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America," which first appeared last summer and will be published in paperback early next month.

On this edition of ST, we speak with Tulsa native and longtime New Yorker Magazine writer Mark Singer, whose latest book is called "Trump and Me." It's based in large part on a profile of the real estate mogul that Singer wrote for the magazine 20 years ago, and it's just out Tim Duggan Books / Penguin Random House.

One of the more closely watched electoral races coming up in the June 28th primary is the surprising campaign for the Republican nomination in Oklahoma's 1st Congressional District. In this race, incumbent Congressman Jim Bridenstine seeks what he says is his "final term." But Tulsa oilman Tom Atkinson has challenged the incumbent in a very competitive race. 

On today's installment of StudioTulsa, we offer a discussion with Tulsa City Councilor G.T. Bynum, who is running for mayor. (Tulsa's mayoral elction will occur on June 28th; we spoke with Mayor Bartlett, who is also running, on yesterday's program.) Bynum was elected to the Tulsa City Council in 2008; he still serves on the Council, representing District 9. As noted at the G.T.

Our guest on ST is Edward B. Foley, the Ebersold Chair in Law and Director of Election Law at the Ohio State University School of Law. Professor Foley tells us about his interesting new book, just out from Oxford University Press: "Ballot Battles: A History of Disputed Elections in the U.S." As was noted of this title by Tamara Keith, a correspondent for NPR News: "It's hard not to feel outrage and a little dread reading Edward Foley's retelling of ballot battles dating back to the nation's Founding.

News flash: Government is broken in Washington. Problems aren't being solved. New solutions aren't being put forward. "Compromise" (as has been so commonly observed) has become a dirty word. Or at least, such is the opinion of many of us. Indeed, poll after poll has found that a large majority of Americans believe government isn't working, and that it's -- on the contrary -- dominated by special interested and partisan gridlock. But...come to think of it...could your average American citizen do any better?

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