Thursday was the first day of early voting for Tuesday's midterm elections (it continues today from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.), and the Oklahoma Election Board released some fascinating voter registration information that gives a glimpse into what we might expect from Nov. 6. Here are the highlights:
There are 2,120,843 registered voters in Oklahoma. With less than four million people in the state, that's significant. Of those more than two million voters, just over one million are Republicans. Around 780,000 are Democrats, 328,000 are Independents and 8,675 are Libertarians.That's the most registered Republicans, Independents and Libertarians ever. It's also the first time a political party has had more than one million registered voters since eight years ago in 2010, when the Democrats were at the one million mark.Since Jan. 1, the state has received more than 100,000 new registered voters. A majority of those, roughly 60,000, have been Republicans, followed by about 30,000 new Democrats and 11,000 thousand new Independents. Libertarians gained 3,778 voters, almost half of their registered members.Most registered voters (about one quarter) are 65 years or older. The older the age bracket you look at, the fewer registered Independents and Libertarians there are. But Independents make up 27.8 percent of voters ages 18-29, close to the number of Democrats in that age bracket (30.9 percent), while Republicans make up 40.5 percent. Only six percent of voters ages 65 and up are registered Independents.23.5 percent of voters are ages 30-44, the second highest total after the 65+ age group. 18.2 percent are 55-64, while 18-29 year olds make up 17.1 percent of registered voters. The lowest percentage of the electorate are 45-54 year olds (15.3 percent).In other words, more people are registering to vote. A lot of them are Republicans. Younger voters tend to be more diverse when it comes to political parties, and they're making up a larger percentage of the electorate, but senior citizens still reign supreme when it comes to voter registrations.
Of course, these statistics are all about registered voters. Who goes out and votes, and how they vote, is a complete unknown at this point. But early, early voting statistics are pointing toward a high turnout: at least 87,000 people voted early or voted by mail (undoubtedly more, as not all voting totals were available by press time). In Cleveland County, 3,755 people voted early.