In The Know: Election Day is today; large turnout expected; governor’s race is a statistical dead heat…

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. Click here to subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

Today is Election Day: All polling places are from 7 am to 7 pm. Visit our #OKvotes page to find more election information, important dates, and other resources.

In The News

Large turnout expected at polls Tuesday: This year’s early voting and mail-in ballots have already more than doubled those cast during midterm elections in 2014, State Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax said Monday.He said he expects a greater turnout for Tuesday’s election but doesn’t expect it to top the 2016 presidential race.So far, Oklahomans have cast 165,598 mail and in-person early voting ballots, compared to 69,892 in 2014, according to the Oklahoma State Election Board. [Tulsa World] With TPS closed on Election Day, several teachers will drive people to the polls. [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma’s gubernatorial race is a statistical dead heat: The race for the governor’s office is now a statistical dead heat in Oklahoma. The Sooner Poll reports that Republican Kevin Stitt now leads Democrat Drew Edmondson 47 percent to 44.1 percent with 6 percent undecided; however, those numbers come with a 5.33 percent margin of error. Bill Shapard of Sooner Poll said education is the number one issue driving the election numbers. [KTUL]

GOP likely to keep control of Legislature, but Dems could flip seats: Several legislative seats are up for grabs Tuesday, including some in the Oklahoma City area, in an election year that has already seen a dozen incumbents defeated. Politicos from both sides of the aisle have expressed concern that more lawmakers could lose their seats, especially in a year of extraordinary turnover in the Oklahoma House and Senate. [NewsOK]

(Capitol Update) Education and health care frustration pushes against political gravity in tomorrow’s elections: Finally. It’s election week. This is one of those few elections in recent years in Oklahoma when things seem too close to call. Usually the statewide campaigns with money to spare have a good idea of where they are because they are polling pretty much up to the election. This year even the candidates or those close to them (except in secondary, non-competitive races) don’t seem to have much certainty. [Steve Lewis / Capitol Update]

Three Oklahomans discuss why they’re voting in 2018: The midterm election is Tuesday and voters across Oklahoma are heading to the polls to decide on local, state and federal races. Election officials have recorded a surge people registering for the 2018 midterms. Kateleigh Mills interviewed three different Oklahomans from very different backgrounds on why they think voting is important. [KOSU]

Editorial: Five things to watch on Oklahoma’s Election Day: It all comes down to Election Day as campaigns GOTV: get out the vote. Months’ worth of receiving robocalls, tossing mailers into the trash, hiding from door knockers and muting negative TV commercials have left (many) Oklahomans desperately ready to vote and be done with it. [William W. Savage III / NonDoc]

Oklahoma women got the right to vote 100 years ago: One hundred years ago today, on Nov. 5, 1918, the women of Oklahoma won the right to vote in an election rigged against them and despite an influenza epidemic that had hampered their efforts to organize and campaign. [Tulsa World] Oklahoma History Center opens new exhibit ‘Votes for Women’ celebrating 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in the state [NewsOK]

Premature births in Oklahoma at highest level since 2010: Oklahoma babies are being born too early at a rate not seen since 2010, strongly suggesting that last year’s increase in premature births wasn’t a statistical fluke. About 11.1 percent of Oklahoma babies were born before 37 weeks in 2017, up from 10.6 percent the year before. A full-term pregnancy is 40 weeks. [NewsOK]

Oklahomans still ardently support criminal justice reform as system proves slow to adjust: Oklahomans have voted for criminal justice reform and remain eager for it, but the system may not be responding to those changes the way the public expected. That is suggested by polling conducted on behalf of reform advocate and preliminary data from the Oklahoma Department of Corrections for fiscal year 2018, which ended June 30 — one year after the effective date of landmark State Questions 780 and 781. [Tulsa World] We previously wrote about why making recent justice reforms retroactive is smart policy and a moral necessity.

First Oklahoma man sentenced to life without parole for drug trafficking now hopes for release: In, May 1990, Leland Dodd walked into a Holiday Inn and agreed to buy 50 pounds of marijuana from an undercover Oklahoma City police officer. A paid informant and the undercover detective told Dodd, a 37-year old father of three, and his friend they were buying high-grade marijuana from Thailand that the federal government had brought to Oklahoma on the AWACS planes that flew out of Tinker Air Force Base. [The Frontier]

30-year incumbent seeks to keep corporation commissioner job: Today, Oklahoma voters will either elect a new corporation commissioner or select a final term for a 30-year incumbent. The three-member Corporation Commission regulates electric, natural gas and telecommunications utilities and oversees regulations on industries such as oil and gas. [NonDoc]

Maimed Oklahoma legislator downplays heroism: Fighting off a jealous assailant two years ago, state Rep. Jason Lowe lost part of his right ear but probably saved a woman’s life. “I don’t consider myself a hero or anything. I’m just happy I was there to prevent a death,” Lowe said Friday after the assailant was sentenced. [NewsOK]

Proposed Tourism District would raise $2.3 million in public dollars but not be subject to Open Records Act: City councilors will vote Wednesday on a proposal to tax customers staying at Tulsa’s largest hotels approximately $2.3 million a year and to send the funds to a private nonprofit that would not be subject to the state’s Open Records Act. VisitTulsa is the tourism arm of the Tulsa Regional Chamber. [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“I do think this will be one of the better turnouts we have had in a midterm election in a long time. And, certainly, I expect it to be much, much better than the dismal turnout we saw in 2014.”

-State Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax [Source: Tulsa World]

Number of the Day


Share of senior households in Oklahoma that received SNAP food assistance in 2016.

[Source: Food Research Action Center and AARP]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

All the ways Medicaid is on the ballot in 2018: In every sense, big and small, the government health insurance program is on the ballot on Election Day. The stakes for Medicaid in the 2016 election might have been obscured among all the talk about emails and deplorables and the Wall and Russia. But there should be no illusions about 2018. [Vox]

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Jessica joined OK Policy as a Communications Associate in January 2018. A Mexican immigrant, she was a Clara Luper Scholar at Oklahoma City University where she obtained a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy. Prior to joining OK Policy, Jessica worked at a digital marketing agency in Oklahoma City. She is an alumna of both the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute (2013) and OK Policy's Summer Policy Institute (2015). In addition to her role at OK Policy, Jessica serves as a board member for Dream Action Oklahoma in OKC and communications director for Dream Alliance Oklahoma in Tulsa.

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