In The Know: Early voting starts next week | Texas Sen. Ted Cruz to visit OKC for Stitt Rally | USDA awards $90M to OK broadband expansion

In The KnowIn The Know is your daily briefing on Oklahoma policy-related news. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. Some stories included here are behind paywall or require subscription. OK Policy encourages the support of Oklahoma’s state and local media, which are vital to an informed citizenry. Subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

Oklahoma News

What To Know Before Early Voting Starts In Oklahoma On Nov. 2: You can cast your ballot next Wednesday, Nov. 2, through Friday, from 8 in the morning till 6 in the evening. You can also vote early on Saturday, Nov. 5, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. [News On 6]

State Government News

Podcast: This Week in Oklahoma Politics: Tribal gaming compacts, State Superintendent debate, remembering Jim Halligan and more: KOSU’s Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and Civil Rights Attorney Ryan Kiesel about news from KOSU about Gov. Kevin Stitt hiring outside counsel to fight a challenge to tribal gaming compacts he signed in 2020, a State Superintendent debate between Republican Secretary of Education Ryan Walters and former Teacher of the Year Jena Nelson and the couple mentioned in the Oklahoma County District Attorney debate gets arrested in Mexico. [KOSU]

Column: Oklahoma Republican Party needs to do some self-reflection: Rather than take stock of what constituents really need and improve Oklahoma’s abysmally low voter turnout, the state’s Republicans are retreating into echo chambers aided by gerrymandered primaries and uncontested general elections. [Edward Dornblaser / Tulsa World]

Ag producers eligible for millions in drought relief: More assistance will be coming soon to Oklahoma agricultural producers affected by the ongoing severe drought. Approximately $23 million has been approved to combat the drought and provide assistance to producers. [Enid News & Eagle]

Federal Government News

Oklahoma senator’s drug costs proposal draws concern from senior citizens groups: U.S. Sen. James Lankford desire to repeal part of a new law that’s supposed to give senior citizens relief on prescription drug costs is garnering outrage and concern in his home state. [The Norman Transcript]

Voting and Election News

Tulsa County judge candidates to meet at forum hosted by Bar Association: Candidates on the ballot for judicial office are set to meet one week before the Nov. 8 election at a forum hosted by the Tulsa County Bar Association that will be livestreamed for local voters. [Tulsa World]

Sec. Ryan Walters plans to ‘eliminate’ an educational accountability commission he leads: It’s a little-known state office with a pretty big task. The Office of Educational Quality and Accountability (OEQA) oversees teacher performance and school reviews. [KOKH FOX25]

Stitt announces rally with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in Oklahoma City: The Stitt for Governor 2022 campaign announced Wednesday that U.S. Senator Ted Cruz will join Gov. Kevin Stitt at the Red Wave Rally in Oklahoma City on November 1. [KOKH FOX25]

Column: Get your facts straight — there is no problem with election security in Oklahoma: The League of Women Voters of Oklahoma took a deep dive into the question after allegations of fraud began to affect conversations about election integrity nationwide. We looked into cases of potential voting crimes referred by county election officials to Oklahoma district attorneys after the November 2020 presidential election. [Brian Davis Guest Column / The Oklahoman]

Who is running for Oklahoma County District Judge, Office 14? Your guide to the candidates: Eleven of Oklahoma County’s 15 district judge offices were determined before the April primary, and three more were decided in that primary. The only remaining open position is Office 14, held by Judge Ray Elliott until his retirement earlier this year. Special judges Kathryn Savage and James Siderias will face off for the seat on Nov. 8. [The Oklahoman]

Health News

Everything you need to know about changes to EMSA, and why response times are slow: Changes are coming to the operation of Oklahoma City and Tulsa’s ambulance service provider that officials hope will improve the organization’s ability to respond to emergencies in a timely fashion. [The Oklahoman]

Column: Data should be driving Oklahoma’s policies on trans youth health care: A fundamental aspect of human rights is equal access to healthcare, and yet transgender and gender diverse youth and their families continuously experience discrimination through targeted political attacks. [Guest Column Dr. Natasha L. Poulopoulos / The Oklahoman]

Economic Opportunity 

USDA awards nearly $90 million to Oklahoma for rural broadband development: The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced it will award nearly $90 million to Oklahoma to provide high-speed internet access for rural residents, farms and businesses across 14 counties. [KOSU]

Economy & Business News

Column: Hiring people with disabilities helps build a diverse workforce: October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), and as a person with a disability (Type 1 diabetes) and as president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Central Oklahoma, I want to urge all employers to make a concerted effort to hire people with disabilities and adopt inclusive policies and practices in the workplace. [Jim T. Priest Guest Column / The Oklahoman]

Local engineering firm to stretch out in new mixed-use development: By this time next year, 360 Engineering Group is scheduled to have a new home in about a $4 million development unveiled Thursday. [Tulsa World]

Education News

Column: Fears for fate of rural schools are real: If you grew up in a small town, you know how integrated a school and its community can be. Schools are a gathering place for the community. I remember as much for the sole year I lived in the little burg of Marengo, Illinois, a farm and manufacturing town just south of the Wisconsin border. [Bob Doucette Guest Column / Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“That is your voice, and you know what? Every ballot, every vote counts. Because there are sometimes that these elections come down to just a few votes. Just a few.”

– Julie Dermody, Rogers County Election Board Secretary, encouraging people to vote this election. [News On 6]

Number of the Day


The increase in the number of Tulsa’s unsheltered population for the January 2022 point-in-time headcount when compared with the previous year. Tulsa officials counted 1,063 unsheltered individuals. For Oklahoma City, the 2022 annual count was 1,339 individuals, which was a 15% decrease from the previous year, but higher than the 2018 and 2019 counts. [Tulsa World] | [The Oklahoman]

Policy Note

Policing Doesn’t End Homelessness. Supportive Housing Does: Instead of addressing the root causes of unsheltered homelessness — a lack of housing and supportive services — many cities have leaned into punitive responses that criminalize homelessness, such as arresting people for sitting or sleeping in certain public places. But this approach is costly and ineffective. Police don’t solve homelessness, they only move it around—to other neighborhoods, jails, and emergency rooms—rather than connecting people with the housing and services they need. [Urban Institute]

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Hana Saad joined OK Policy in August 2022 as the Communications and Operations Fellow. She graduated from the University of Tulsa with degrees in Media Studies and English and is part of Phi Beta Kappa, an academic honor society. At TU, Hana regularly wrote for The Collegian and was the Co-Editor of the Stylus Journal of Art and Writing. She also serves on the team at Puppy Haven Rescue to help in their mission of saving rescue dogs across Oklahoma. Hana is eager to learn more about public policy in Oklahoma and use her skills to support the OKP work to build a more equitable state. In her free time, she loves to read fiction and poetry, walk her dog, and make copious cups of tea.

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