The Republican field in our June primary in Oklahoma was full of grassroots candidates, eager to bring fresh ideas to government. OKLIG watched as the results came in live that night, looking for anything that stood out, and, of course, to see who won. We would later process the data, and draw any conclusions that could be made from it.
Summary of election night
A few notes from the night. As we watched the results come in, for the most part things went smoothly at first, but later on precincts in certain areas were held up for some reason. This happened in Senate dist. 22, where Jake Merrick lost his incumbency to primary challenger Kristen Thompson. As late as 9:00pm, only 38%, or 11 out of 29 precincts, were reporting in his race, while statewide more than 85% (~1700 out of 1984) had fully reported, according to the state election results website.
We are providing these charts as an aid to anyone researching the primary election. They show the breakdown of votes by race, of the overall total vote, then separate charts showing mail-in only and Election Day only votes. You can see that in many races, a significant difference exists in the mail vs day-of vote. Sometimes the early in-person vote follows the mail-in proportion, and other times it is in the middle, or closer to the total proportion, so those are left out of these charts in order to highlight the mail vote. In future research and reporting, we may look at all three types.
First to note is, interestingly enough, in the Democrat race for Governor, in which State Public Schools Superintendent (and former Republican) Joy Hofmeister beat the longtime Oklahoma Democrat politician Connie Johnson. What’s interesting about this race is that on Election Day, the split was exactly 60-40%, which alone is worthy of some attention, but if you note the difference as compared to the mail-in vote, Hofmeister won an additional 6.4 percentage points. This is the kind of result we’ve become used to seeing when Republicans and Democrats face off in the general, yet now it shows up intra-party in the primary.
Now to show that this isn’t always the case, let’s look at the companion race in the Republican party. In this case there were four contenders, but with Kevin Stitt having the incumbency, it’s essentially a matter of Stitt vs everyone else, and as long as he receives 50% he advances to November. Look at the result, 69.1% overall, 69.3% on Election Day, and only slightly less at 67.2% in the mail.
This is only 2.1% of a difference, or 4.3% closer as compared to the Democrats.
AG & statewide races
Now for a look at the Attorney General race, which we were watching closely, given the AG’s legal position in the election integrity picture (see Oklahoma law, Title 26).
This race was very close. Less than 2 points separated O’Connor, who was appointed by Gov. Stitt, and his challenger Gentner Drummond. On Election Day it’s even closer, where only .4% separate the two, but look at the mail-in vote – somehow this one comes out to be 60/40, which is exactly the Hofmeister-Johnson proportion from above!
We have a lot of questions about this one, and are calling for an investigation into the race, in addition to the calls for audits we have already advocated. Something is still not right with our elections.
There is a 9.3% difference in the Labor Commissioner race.
James Lankford saw a full 10.2% advantage in the Senate mail-in, which translated to an 11.2% deficit for his key challenger, Jackson Lahmeyer.
And again we see an even-numbered outcome (for Lahmeyer) on Election day – exactly 27.0%.
In the other Senate race, which is for an unexpired term due to Jim Inhofe’s announced retirement, there were more than 10 candidates. This muddies the field in a way that makes it difficult to see where a “shift” was occurring. Yet still, we see Nathan Dahm with a 3.2% deficit in mail-in votes compared to Election Day, T.W. Shannon with a 2.8% boost, and a 3.8% boost for Luke Holland, who coincidentally was Inhofe’s endorsed pick for his replacement. These numbers are much closer, and therefore more believable in a world with random events and organic election turnout, but they still appear, at least to us, to slant in a particular direction, even within one political party.
Other primary races
On down the list, the mail-in split occurs in many races. You can browse through the ones we’ve posted and see for yourself.
This is one more piece of the puzzle in election integrity, which shows we need transparency from our county and state election boards. Show us how we can be confident our votes are counted accurately, and cast by people who are legally entitled to do such.
Stay tuned for our runoff analysis and November election coverage. As for Nov 8, please be sure to vote on Election Day, clearly marking your choices with a ballpoint pen, to ensure no bleed-thru.