By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
Although elections in eight Canadian County municipalities and school districts have been postponed due to COVID-19, next week’s filing period for four Canadian County offices has not changed.
Candidates for county clerk, district court clerk, county sheriff, and District 2 commissioner will file declarations between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, April 8-10 at the Canadian County Election Board, 210 W Rogers in El Reno.
Current office holders are County Clerk Sherry Murray, District Court Clerk Marie Hirst, County Sheriff Chris West, and District 2 County Commissioner David Anderson. All four incumbents have indicated they will seek new terms and it remains to be seen if they will draw challengers.
State election officials “haven’t given us any direction on anything special about the fact that everyone is supposed to stay home,” Canadian County Election Board Secretary Wanda Armold said.
“I assume everything will go on as planned,” Armold said of next week’s three-day filing period.
Armold, who started working at the Canadian County Election Board in 1983, does not recall any year when there wasn’t at least one contested county race.
Because Canadian County Election Board personnel are deemed “essential” workers, the office remains open.
“Our front door is locked, but I have a note on the front door that says, ‘We’re open for business – knock or call this number (422-2422) and we’ll let you in’,” Armold said. “We just don’t want a horde of people standing out in the lobby.
“It would be different if I had like 500 people that were standing at my front door. I might be a bit overwhelmed. But I don’t look for that to happen.”
Anyone interested in filing for a Canadian County office may obtain a county candidate filing packet online at www.ok.gov/elections.
“The packet will give them all the information they need to file,” said Armold, who’s been election board secretary since 2009. “Should anybody want to come in here to pick up a packet from me, I would be more than happy to give them one.”
The primary election is set June 30 with a runoff (if needed) on Aug. 25. The general election will be Nov. 3.
The winners will take office to start the next term in January 2021.
In response to growing concerns about the coronavirus, the Oklahoma State Election Board on March 18 declared an election emergency for local elections that were set April 7 in 74 counties.
“As Oklahoma’s chief election official, I strongly urge school districts, municipalities, technology districts and counties with April 7 elections to take immediate action to reschedule and help efforts to flatten the COVID-19 curve,” Oklahoma State Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax said.
In response, all Canadian County entities that had elections next Tuesday have postponed or canceled them:
- The City of Yukon’s Oklahoma Natural Gas franchise election has been canceled with a new election date TBD.
- The Piedmont City Council elections have been postponed until June 30.
- School board elections for Geary, Caddo-Kiowa Tech Center, Riverside, Banner, and Okarche also have been postponed until June 30.
- A Mustang Public Schools’ bond election has been postponed until Aug. 25.
June 30 was the next available election date – and the date of the state primary election.
Regular office hours at the Canadian County Election Board are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. The office stays open until 5 p.m. on certain days for filing periods and early voting, per state law.
For more information, call the county election board office at 422-2422.