By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
A record number of Canadian County voters cast ballots in the Nov. 3 general election with voter turnout just under 70%.
And while more people (62,040) voted than ever in Canadian County, the percent who voted declined more than 4% from the last presidential election year.
Some voters stood in line for as much as four hours to cast their ballots this year, Canadian County Election Board Secretary Wanda Armold reported.
The 2020 general election featured a hotly contested race for U.S. president along with federal, state and local legislative races and two state questions.
The 62,000-plus vote total includes those who voted during a three-day early voting period, by absentee ballot and on election day across 48 Canadian County polling precincts.
With 88,826 registered voters in Canadian County, voter turnout was 69.8% for the 2020 general election.
That compares to a 74.1% voter turnout during the last presidential election in 2016. Canadian County had 75,396 registered voters then, 13,430 fewer than today.
Voter turnout was 69.3% for the 2012 presidential election when Canadian County had 66,924 registered voters.
For this year’s general election, the Canadian County Election Board mailed out 16,343 absentee ballot requests and 2,866 voters came to the election office Oct. 29-31 during the official early voting period.
Long voting lines wrapped around and near several large Canadian County precincts, such as Piedmont First Baptist Church, Yukon’s Dale Robertson Center, Surrey Hills Baptist Church, and West Metro Church of Christ near Mustang.
With Canadian County’s steady growth in recent decades, Armold said some polling places on the county’s east side are “bursting at the seams.”
After the 2020 Census is finalized, Canadian County is expected to have more precincts and buildings available to open polling places thus easing congestion.
“It’s so hard to find places but there are some locations we can move to in the future,” Armold said.
The Canadian County Election Board needs extra workers and extra space – at least for every presidential election.
“We have this once every four years,” Armold said. “But not for the other 20 elections we have between them.”
COUNTY’S ‘RED WAVE’
Not surprisingly, Republicans did well in Canadian County – in races for president, U.S. Senate, Congress, and state legislative seats.
Some 61% of Canadian County’s registered voters are Republicans, with about 22% Democrats, 16% Independents and 1% Libertarians.
Here is a breakdown of key races of interest to Yukon-area residents and how Canadian County voted:
STATE REPRESENTATIVE: District 43 State Rep. Jay Steagall (R-Yukon) won his second two-year term in the Oklahoma House of Representatives after strong support among 12 Yukon-area precincts. Steagall earned 13,320 votes (72.55%) to withstand a challenge from Yukon Independent Cassie Kinet, who garnered 5,040 votes (27.45%).
PRESIDENT/VICE PRESIDENT: President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Michael R. Pence earned 43,481 of 61,857 votes cast – a 70.29% majority in Canadian County. The Democrat ticket of Joseph R. Biden and Kamala D. Harris received 27.04% to finish a distant second.
U.S. SENATOR: Canadian County voters helped re-elect Republican Jim Inhofe to another six-year term in the U.S. Senate. Inhofe claimed 67.3% of votes in Canadian County, with Democrat Abby Broyles finishing with 28.2%. Inhofe has served in the U.S. Senate since 1994.
U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: Another Republican incumbent returning to his seat at the U.S. Capitol is Third District Congressman Frank Lucas, who garnered 74.36% support across Canadian County precincts. Democrat challenger Zoe Midyett received 25.64% of the county vote. Lucas has served in Congress since 2003.
STATE SENATE: District 45 State Sen. Paul Rosino (R-Oklahoma City) earned a four-year term after defeating Democrat challenger Jennifer Wilkinson of Yukon. Among Canadian County voters, Rosino earned 73.13% support compared to 26.87% for Wilkinson. This district includes part of the south Yukon area.
‘NO’ ON STATE QUESTIONS
Canadian County voters joined voters across Oklahoma in defeating two state questions on the 2020 general election ballot.
Some 62.59% of Canadian County voters were against SQ 805, which would have prohibited the use of a previous felony conviction to enhance the punishment for someone convicted of a subsequent felony.
And 59.94% of Canadian County voters opposed SQ 814, which would have redirected a portion of Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust Funds (TSET) to help fund expansion of the Medicaid program.