On Tuesday August 23, Oklahoma voters will vote in the statewide primary runoff election. This election will determine nominees for legislative and congressional seats in the November 8 election. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The Pioneer staff will be covering District 41 in Edmond and District 5 in Oklahoma City. A conservative preacher will face a former Air Force Captain in District 41, with Adam Pugh against Paul Blair. In District 5, former state Sen. Al McAffrey will square off with retired professor Tom Guild.
The Oklahoma State Election Board reported that 39.5 percent of registered voters cast their vote in the March primary elections. Though this number set a record for primary voter turnout, it still means less than half of all registered voters in Oklahoma used their right to vote.
Political Science Professor Sharon Vaughan, Ph.D., commented on why voter turnout can be low for primary elections.
“There’s a general indifference to it, just a total disconnect. Most people don’t even know there is a runoff, most people don’t know who’s running,” Vaughan said.
Vaughan described how low voter turnout does not reflect the importance of the election. “Local elections are important because that’s how the priority of public spending is going to be decided by those local officials,” Vaughan said. “All of your local things: infrastructure, water, education, school board elections.”
“What we see in political science, we see that most people that vote are usually white, more fluent and older. That shows that the general population, especially millennials, are not represented at all by the public choices that are made,” Vaughan said.
You can find your voting precinct by visiting the Oklahoma Election Board website.