Tulsa County sees uptick in new voter registrations ahead of presidential election

Tulsa County sees uptick in new voter registrations ahead of presidential election

TULSA, Okla. — New voter registration in Tulsa County for the 2020 Presidential election is double the number of applications received for the 2016 presidential election.

The increase is not only twice the amount of the applications seen in 2016, but it also set a record for the number of new applicants registering to vote for a Presidential race in Tulsa County, election officials said.

The Tulsa County Election Board received slightly over 14,200 new voter applications in September and October 2016. For September and October of this year, the number is already around 28,000 applications between what was turned into the election board by hand, what already has arrived by mail, and what is projected to continue to arrive in the mail that was postmarked by Oct. 9, which was the deadline to register to vote for the upcoming election.

Content Continues Below

Tulsa County Election Board Secretary Gwen Freeman told FOX23 there was a last minute rush to register to vote last week, and more 1,000 people alone registered to vote on Friday, Oct. 9, the absolute last day to do so.

“2020 continues to set records for us at the election board is so many ways,” Freeman said. “Voter registration numbers are just one of the ways 2020 continues make new records that will be hard to top in the future in multiple areas of what we do.”

Freeman said she believes the pandemic and how people feel about the top two contenders is the primary reason people are eager to vote, and those are the reasons she and her staff have heard from the voters themselves dropping off applications at the election board.

She said all new applications will have to be entered by hand into the system once the information is verified as accurate, and because there are so many, some people may have to wait until the end of the week if not into early next week to show up as registered in the state’s system.

Once someone is registered, then they can apply for an absentee ballot, which many are expected to do. Tens of thousands of absentee ballots have already been sent out and mailed back in just Tulsa County alone as people try to vote from the comfort of their homes instead of waiting in line at the polls in the middle of a pandemic.

Freeman said now attention is turning to setting up ONEOK Field as the county’s new early voting site to be open later this month, and verifying if absentee ballots have been properly filled out and are free of errors or mistakes or other problems that make them invalid.