Claremore Daily Progress

April 28, 2013

Absentee ballots may predict voter turnout

Salesha Wilken
Staff Reporter

CLAREMORE —

The Rogers County one-cent road tax election on May 14 is stirring interest among voters as an unusual number of residents rush to return absentee ballots.
The Rogers County Election Board is reporting that voters are returning the ballots in what appears to be record time with an average of 12 votes being submitted daily.
Only eight days after ballots were mailed, more than 20 percent have been returned, some within two days of receipt.
The special election has already generated a higher number of absentee ballots requested at 505. 
This may seem small; but compared to the normal flow of absentee ballots prior to an election, it is unusual, according to Rogers County Election Board Secretary Julie Dermody.
If the absentee ballots are any indication of the turnout for election day,  it could be possible to see record numbers for a special election, she said.
“People are very interested in the one-cent tax,” Dermody said. 
Poll workers will be prepared for the election regardless of the turnout. However, voters are always encouraged to participate, according to Dermody.
If the measure fails, Rogers County will have the opportunity to call another special election this year to gain approval for the tax renewal.
The tax is set to expire in October. However, an election can be called in September, October or November if necessary, according to Dermody.
Additional elections could be called at the discretion of the Rogers County commissioners.
The May 14 one-cent tax election has already cost the county approximately $23,000 and additional expenses have not been calculated.
The ballots alone cost approximately $10,000, Dermody said.
If the measure fails and is called again the county will pay thousands in additional funds as each election has separate expenses.
“As always it is the local elections that affect our daily lives more than anything else, it would behoove citizens to take an interest in all elections that potentially affect their pocket books,” Dermody said.