Voters line up to cast early ballots
BY WAYNE GREENE World Senior Writer
Friday, November 02, 2012
11/02/12 at 4:55 PM
Tulsa County residents lined up and waited to be among the first Oklahomans to cast their ballots in the presidential election Friday, the state’s first day of in-person absentee voting.
About 150 people were waiting when Tulsa County Election Board officials opened the front door of their office at 555 N. Denver Ave. 8 a.m. Friday, said Shelly Boggs, assistant secretary of the county election board.
The flow of voters was heavy and steady, Boggs said.
“This is wonderful,” Boggs said.
By midmorning, the election board was handling about 330 voters an hour with a line that stretched out the door, through the parking lot and down the sidewalk.
For most of the morning, the wait to get a ballot was about half an hour.
In 2008, the line stretched even further, circling the block and coming back to the election board’s exit door, Boggs said.
“We might get there before Monday night,” she said.
In 2008, records show 11,500 people voted in Tulsa County in the three days of early voting. Statewide, 119,482 people voted early that year — a little more than 8 percent of the total turnout in the state.
Friday’s early voting went smoothly statewide, said state Election Secretary Paul Ziriax.
It’s too early to say if this year’s early turnout will rival the 2008 levels, but it seems to be on pace to be at least the heaviest turnout since that vote, Ziriax said.
“I’m very pleased. We’re always pleased when turnout is good,” he said. “We’ve had some good weather, and it looks like it’s going to continue that way. We’re hoping that leads to good turnout every day for the election.”
At the Tulsa election site, Friday’s warm temperatures weather attracted a broad spectrum of early voters. There were young voters wearing shorts and T-shirts and older voters using walkers and canes.
Election board officials policed the line, making sure that only registered Tulsa County voters were there and handing out the simple application that each early voter had to fill out.
In-person absentee voting continues at the Election Board, 555 N. Denver Ave., until 6 p.m. Friday, and resumes at 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday.
DeShaun Woodson and his daughter Choe Woodson, 2, wait in line to vote at the Tulsa County Election Board on Friday. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World