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August 23, 2018

Runoffs Matter!!

Brenda Jones Barwick, APR – President and CEO

Are you out of town on Tuesday and forgot to get your absentee ballot? No worries. You can vote today!  Early voting at the Oklahoma County Election Board, located at 4201 N. Lincoln Blvd., is available on Friday from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm; or Saturday from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm.

This year’s runoff election on Tuesday is the largest in Oklahoma in history because there are so many runoff races. In Oklahoma County alone, there are 20 state and local runoff races across all party lines, including the Libertarian party has a runoff for governor.

I have heard some say, “I’ve already voted and my candidate didn’t win, so I’ll sit out while the top two candidates battle it out.” Apathy (or sulking) is NOT democracy. Historically, runoff elections attract 25-30 percent of primary voters. This greatly skews electoral results that may or may not result in the best candidates for the general election in November.

Due to this year’s runoff election being the most active in state history, pollsters estimate the number of voters will be higher, around 40 percent and possibly as high as 50 percent of the primary voters. When half or more of the primary voters sit home, they essentially void and abdicate their voice that negatively influences the electoral result.

Runoffs matter. The consequence of not taking this one small extra step is that one or both parties being unhappy with their choice in November. The smaller number of people who vote in the runoff, the greater the voice of “a few” people selecting our candidates in November. The larger number of people who vote will result in a broader consensus that is more representative of all Oklahomans.

As Rotarians, who are all leaders in our communities and professions, we need to encourage family, friends, employees, peers, vendors and other acquaintances to exercise their voice and to vote today, Saturday or Tuesday in the runoff election. This is the best process to ensure the finest candidates are on the general election ballot.

I hope to see everyone at Rotary on Tuesday wearing “I Voted” stickers. Make our voices heard in this important runoff election.

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