In The Know: Virus hospitalizations pass 1,000 | Election news & notes | Issues remain after voters reject state questions

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.

New from OK Policy

Policy Matters: The voters have spoken, but issues remain: While it may be days or weeks before the presidential race is resolved, we have complete results from Oklahoma’s races on the Nov. 3 general election ballot. Notably, voters did not approve the two state questions on the ballot – criminal justice reform with State Question 805 and health care funding for State Question 814. While voters have spoken on these particular ballot measures, the issues that sparked these state questions remain unresolved. [Ahniwake Rose / Policy Matters]

Oklahoma News

Coronavirus hospitalizations surpass 1,000 in Oklahoma: The number of people hospitalized in Oklahoma either with the coronavirus or under investigation for infection surpassed 1,000 on Wednesday, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health. [AP News] 115 hospitalizations associated with COVID-19 pushed the state over the 1,000 mark for active hospitalizations for the first time since the pandemic began in March. [The Daily Ardmoreite]

  • COVID-19: Another hospitalizations high reached as 17 more die in Oklahoma [Tulsa World]
  • COVID hospitalizations continue record surge; Oklahoma now in federal red zone for death rate [Public Radio Tulsa]

Election News – State

  • How Oklahoma voted against criminal justice reform proposed in state question 805 [Oklahoma Watch]
  • Republicans continue 30-year dominance in state Legislature [Tulsa World]
  • Republicans add 5 to Oklahoma House roster [NonDoc]
  • Oklahoma Senate elections: Dems gain one, lose one [NonDoc]
  • For Democrats in Oklahoma, there were some moral victories amid sea of losses [The Frontier]
  • Turnout described as ‘amazing’ [Norman Transcript] | [Lawton Constitution]
  • Oklahoma elects Mauree Turner, the first Muslim, nonbinary state legislator  [CNN] | [HuffPost
  • Rural Democrats become extinct species in Oklahoma [AP News] | [Enid News & Eagle]
  • Fresh off election victories, Sen. Dave Rader and Rep. Melissa Provenzano talk about the most pressing problems facing the Legislature (video) [Tulsa World]

Election News – Federal

State Government News

With defeat, uncertainty looms over Medicaid expansion: Voter rejection Tuesday of a proposal to redirect money flowing annually into Oklahoma’s Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust added to uncertainties that lawmakers will face this year in funding Medicaid expansion. [The Journal Record] OK Policy: Oklahoma lawmakers have nearly $600 million of available options that can fund Medicaid expansion.  

Oklahoma election official says redistricting could reduce long voting lines: Some voters waited in line for over three hours at their precincts on Tuesday. Officials with the Oklahoma County Election Board say redistricting following the 2020 census could help shorten wait times next election. [KFOR]

  • First-time Oklahoma poll worker describes long day helping with Tuesday’s historic election [The Oklahoman]
  • Last Voter: How this Oklahoman cast her first ballot with seconds to spare [Oklahoma Watch]

While ballots still being counted in some states, Oklahoma is done. Here’s why: A law passed in 2013 means Oklahomans today aren’t still waiting for Tuesday’s election results. Because of what seemed, at the time, to be an unusually large number of mail-in ballots for the 2012 general election, the Legislature put into statute a procedure for allowing county election boards to begin processing mail-in absentee ballots ahead of election day. [Tulsa World]

Federal Government News

Jury seated in retrial of man at center of landmark Supreme Court ruling: Jury selection began Wednesday in Muskogee federal court for a man charged with sexually abusing a 4-year-old girl 24 years ago in Broken Arrow after the Supreme Court tossed his conviction and sentence in a landmark ruling that centered on the boundaries of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. [Tulsa World]

Education News

OKC schools don’t expect delay for 1st-12th grade return: Although classes have been canceled for nearly two weeks, Oklahoma City students are still expected to return to more than 50 schools next week for the first time since March. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma Local News

  • Tulsa City Council moves forward on proposal to allow drive-throughs medical marijuana dispensaries [Tulsa World]
  • Tulsa City Council resolution would clear the way for improvements at American Airlines’ maintenance facilities [Tulsa World]
  • OKC rapidly becoming a film set [The Journal Record]
  • COVID-19 strikes Stillwater Fire Department [Stillwater News Press]

Quote of the Day

“I feel like my vote matters. I’m kind of a whole new generation so I feel like it’s my opportunity to help change things.”

-Jesse Marker, a 23-year-old, first-time voter who was the last person in line at a Noble polling station that had a five-hour wait on Tuesday [Oklahoma Watch]

Numbers of the Day

39 and 9

The number of Republicans and Democrats, respectively, in the Oklahoma State Senate following Tuesday’s general election. 

[Source: Tulsa World]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Political sectarianism in America: It hardly bears rehashing that Democrats and Republicans view the 2020 general election in moralistic, good-versus-evil terms. Case in point: An Oct. 19 survey from the nonprofit, nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute finds 78% of Democratic respondents think the Republican Party has been overtaken by racists while 81% of Republicans think the Democratic Party has been overtaken by socialists. The survey interviewed about 2,500 randomly selected adults across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Political scientists in recent years have used various terms to describe America’s deep political divide, including “affective polarization,” “social polarization” and “tribalism.” The authors of a new paper in Science settle on “sectarianism” as most reflective of the current political state, in which Democrats and Republicans dislike members of the other party more than they like members of their own. [Journalist’s Resource]

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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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