Canadian County voter registration nears 89,000

More than 14,000 people apply for absentee ballots

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By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer

As Canadian County voter registration nears 89,000, people are again being advised to practice patience on election day.

The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 3, with the presidential race generating great interest among voters across the state and country. Several state and federal legislative races and state questions also appear on the ballot.

As election day nears, voter registration has spiked in Canadian County – with more than 2,000 new registrations processed in just the past 2-1/2 weeks.

As of Oct. 22, there were 88,787 registered voters in Canadian County. That’s about 10,000 more than were registered in October 2019.

Election board personnel have been busy of late processing voter registration applications.

“We get a box-full of them UPS from the state every week,” Canadian County Election Board Secretary Wanda Armold said.

Some 60.9% of Canadian County’s registered voters are Republicans, with 22.3% Democrats and 15.9% Independents.

The Canadian County elections’ chief is telling all voters to be prepared to wait – whether they vote at their local polling site or early at the election office in El Reno.

“People are going to have to stand in line, and I know people don’t like to wait,” said Armold, who’s been election board secretary since 2009. “They’ll stand all night and wait for a new iPhone but they don’t want to stand in line to vote.”

Polling precincts will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. next Tuesday for the election.

Canadian County voters may cast their ballots early from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29; 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30; and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31 at the Canadian County Election Board office, 200 S Bickford in El Reno.

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IN OUR PRAYERS

Election personnel are hoping for pleasant weather during early voting and on election day since many voters are expected to have to stand outside polling places.

“That’s another thing,” Armold said. “The law does not provide anything for postponing or canceling an election regardless of snow, sleet, power outage – the election goes on.

“All I can do is pray for good weather and pray for healthy precinct officials.”

More than 14,000 Canadian County residents have applied for absentee ballots by mail – and the numbers keep rising.

“We’re getting many of them all day, every day,” Armold said. “You can apply for absentee ballots on-line.

“Every day, there’s hundreds more of them.”

Standard absentee voters who don’t want to return their completed, verified ballots by mail may bring them to the front counter of the election office in El Reno.

Armold, who’s worked for the Canadian County Election Board since 1983, has never seen it like this. She’s had to call in extra help and have her employees work overtime to keep up with all the election business in 2020.

“In 2004, we were really busy and worked long hours,” she recalled. “In 2008, we were really busy, worked long hours and registered lots of people.

“But I don’t remember anything like this.”

In a related matter, Canadian County voters are reminded it’s illegal to wear campaign clothing at polling precincts.

“We want people to wear masks, but if they have a mask on that’s politically motivated – has a candidate or a cause – our workers will ask if they can give them one of our supplied masks to replace that,” Armold explained.