More than 40% of those voting in this week’s general election marked the “straight party” box on their ballots, with 70% of those votes going to Republicans, the State Election Board said Thursday.
More than half the votes for Gov. Kevin Stitt were on ballots marked “straight party,” as were those for state Superintendent-elect Ryan Walters.
By comparison, only 139,839 of Democrat Joy Hofmeister’s 481,396 votes — about 29% — were via straight party ballots.
Oklahoma is one of six states that still allow straight party voting for all partisan elections. A seventh, Indiana, allows it for some.
Once common, the straight party option allows a voter to cast a ballot for one party’s slate of candidates with one action. In Oklahoma, that action is filling in a box at the top of the ballot.
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According to the Election Board, 480,871 ballots of the 1,152,162 counted in the governor’s race were marked straight party. Of those, 335,721 were for the Republican slate, 139,839 were for Democrats and 5,311 were for Libertarians.
There is no straight party voting for independents or for nonpartisan elections such as judgeships or City Council.
Strictly speaking, the 480,871 figure is the number of ballots marked straight party but probably not the number of voters who actually voted straight party. In Oklahoma, a vote on an individual office overrides the straight party designation for that office only.
How many people did so is unknown.
In winning reelection, Stitt received a total of 638,910 votes, which means the 335,721 straight party ballots accounted for 52.5% of his total.
Of Walters’ 649,710 votes, 51.7% were by straight party voting.
The other seven Republicans in statewide races, all of whom received more than 700,000 votes, depended on straight party voting for 40% to 45% of their totals.
Straight ticket statistics for legislative and U.S. House of Representatives elections were not available Thursday.
Thursday’s figures reiterated the difficulty of Hofmeister or anyone else not on the Republican ticket winning a statewide race in Oklahoma.
Based on the Republican vote in other statewide elections, Hofmeister and Democrat state superintendent candidate Jena Nelson apparently drew off around 100,000 people who otherwise voted Republican, but they needed about 80,000 more to have a shot at winning.
Republican Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell, for example, received about 105,000 more votes than Stitt. Pinnell had one fewer opponent than Stitt did, but Libertarian lieutenant governor candidate Chris Powell received more votes than the libertarian and independent gubernatorial candidates combined.
Treasurer-elect Todd Russ, a term-limited state representative who is probably much less-known than Pinnell, received almost 100,000 more votes than Stitt, and Labor Commissioner Leslie Osborn received 108,000 more.