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DECISION 2020: Thousands gather at ONEOK Field for early voting

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Posted at 4:34 PM, Oct 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-31 21:44:51-04

In-person absentee voting around the state is now closed for voters.

Early voting numbers in Oklahoma are smashing previous records.

Thousands gathered over a three day period at a single location, ONEOK Field, due to concerns over the Coronavirus.

Officials tell us the reason for the location is the open air at the ball field diminishes the chance for a spread.

The polls for Saturday's early voting opened at 9 a.m. and closed at 2 p.m.

We are told that voters complied with the social distancing measures that were put in place and wore face coverings.

Tommy Neal with the Tulsa County Election Board tells us, “I did not see a single voter without a mask. By and large, social distancing was very well respected. We were able to give people this environment where they don’t have to be right next to one another. They had space at the booths. They had space at the machines. They had space where they were being processed.”

Election officials estimate over a thousand voters were still in line when the deadline rolled around.

It's estimated that close to 14-thousand people voted over the three-day early voting period.

Election officials say it was overall a smooth and encouraging three-day experience here at the ballpark.

On Thursday the Tulsa County Election Board had 4,408 early voters, on Friday 5,367 early voters, and on Saturday 3,553 more people came out to ONEOK Field to vote.

Election officials say it's encouraging to see the number of people voting early, whether by mail or in person.

Tommy Neal tells us, "I love it. That’s what we do. That’s our business. We aim to please the voter and to this point it seems like a lot of them have turned out to cast their ballots.”

Neal tells us that in the 2016 election, Tulsa county had just under 20,000 people in Tulsa County vote early.

They are estimating around 14,000 early votes for Decision 2020.

Election officials tell us as smoothly as the three day early voting went, there are always people that try to sway the vote one way or another.

“People will always try to sneak stuff in and influence whatever they can", Neal says.

Officials found an eight-page pamphlet that was found at the ballot booth, the pamphlet was labeled as a "voter's guide".

The "guide" recommended voting "yes" for republican candidates categorized as conservative.

Oklahoma law states that campaigning for a certain candidate, political party, or ballot measure is illegal within three hundred feet of the polls.

Neal tells us, “you can’t wear or carry on you anything visibly that is pertaining to any item that’s on the ballot.”

During the three days of early voting officials tell us they didn't encounter any voter intimidation or illegal poll watching that they were aware of.

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