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TCEB: Voter turnout could dwarf 2014 midterms

Posted at 11:32 AM, Mar 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-01 12:32:09-05

After working through some early hiccups, the Tulsa County Election Board expects registered voters to have a smooth experience on Super Tuesday.

Tulsa County Election Board Secretary Patty Bryant says the first hurdle the board expected it would have to overcome was voting devices not working following early morning thunderstorms. Surprisingly, as Bryant put it, they turned on without issue.

RELATED: What you need to know about Super Tuesday in Oklahoma on March 1 | Who are the Tulsa County Sheriff candidates? Nine republicans on the ballot vying for position

The early morning problem the board faced came with some of its own workers.

"Trying to get enough workers at the poll on time has been an issue this morning," Bryant explained. "Some workers did not show up, but I think they're all eventually going to arrive at their poll."

Precincts will need those workers. According to Bryant, turnout could be 30 to 35 percent, which is about 100,000 registered voters. 

"That's comparing it to past elections like this one. Being an open seat tends to draw out more voters," Bryant said. 

A turnout that large would almost double the 2014 midterm election turnout, when about 17 percent showed up to vote, Bryant said.

Tulsan Roy Wilkerson, who voted at First Christian Church in downtown Tulsa, is among those casting ballots Tuesday. For Roy, voting is both a right that must be fulfilled and belief that this particular election could be historic. 

POLLS: Which Democrat will receive your vote? | Which Republican will receive your vote?

"I think we're at a real turning point and the candidates are actually going to do something different this time, depending on who we elect. So I think it's very important," Roy said.

It was a feeling shared by husband and wife team John and Betsy Catrett. They say today's decision wasn't an easy one.

"It's a little concerning. More than a little concerning to us. And we've labored over our vote. We watched the debates. We've talked with people that we trust," Besty said.

Other issues voters faced Tuesday morning included not knowing their precincts and trying to show up to the election board to vote.

Additionally, Independent voters, who can now vote alongside Democrats, tried to vote with Republicans because they wanted to participate in the election for Tulsa County sheriff. They'll have to wait for the general election on April 5 to weigh on the race for sheriff.

Polls are open until 7 p.m. Tuesday. Voters must cast ballots at their designated precinct.

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