In The Know: Voters decide state questions, races | GOP makes gains in state House | Hospitalizations at record high

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

‘Our democracy is on the ballot’; Oklahomans cast their vision of the state, nation: Across Oklahoma Tuesday, thousands of voters cast ballots for candidates and state questions, but also for their vision of American and their state. Wait times topped an hour at many precincts and lines wrapped around buildings, partly a product of the six feet spacing between voters in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. [The Frontier]

Oklahoma voters reject both state questions: Oklahoma voters soundly defeated a measure that would have made major changes to the state’s criminal justice system. A measure that would have funded part of the state’s Medicaid expansion also fell short. [The Frontier] [Tulsa World] [Public Radio Tulsa]

Oklahoma’s Legislature: GOP makes gains in state House: Republicans made gains in the Oklahoma Legislature on Tuesday, further solidifying the party’s stronghold on the statehouse. In the House, Republicans gained five seats by picking off two Oklahoma City Democrats and winning three rural seats currently held by Democrats. The victories will give Republicans control of 82 of the 101 House seats, with Democrats carrying the rest. [The Oklahoman]

  • Oklahoma elects first Muslim, nonbinary state legislator [The Oklahoman]
  • Republicans take lead in state’s registered voters [The Oklahoman]

COVID-19 hospitalizations at record high of 974 in Oklahoma: The number of people hospitalized in Oklahoma either with the coronavirus or suspected of being infected is at a record high of 974 and 21 more people have died, the Oklahoma State Department of Health reported Tuesday. [AP News]

  • Norman Veterans Center fights COVID-19 outbreak [The Oklahoman]

Health News

Tulsa officials say despite Trump’s claims, pandemic will still be in the news after election day: Despite President Trump’s claims and suggestions that the COVID-19 pandemic will no longer be covered in the news media following Election Day, hospitalizations in Oklahoma are at record highs and surging nationwide as the virus shows no sign of slowing down. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Criminal Justice News

Oklahoma County Jail Trust sued over pandemic aid: Two activists and a business owner are asking a judge to rule that the Oklahoma County Jail Trust has been operating illegally. The lawsuit, which was filed Monday, alleges the trust was created unlawfully, and it also slams the way Commissioner Kevin Calvey handled the county’s roughly $47 million in federal coronavirus relief funds, known as CARES Act funding. [The Oklahoman]

Education News

Tulsa Public Schools making final preparations for students to start returning to classrooms next week: Tulsa Public Schools is making the final preparations for pre-K and kindergarten students to be the first to return in-person next week. The TPS Board approved Monday night a district mask policy requiring students and adults to wear face coverings over their noses and mouths most of the time while at school or on a school bus. [Public Radio Tulsa]

  • Pandemic has created substitute teacher shortage at Tulsa Public Schools [Public Radio Tulsa]

Oklahoma Local News

Quote of the Day

“We got in line (four hours ago). They should have had a special line for disabled people and they could have set this up better — Chick-Fil-A is easier to get through than this.”

-Noble resident Mary Beth Davis. She arrived at her Noble polling place at 9:30 a.m. and was still in line at 1:30 p.m. [Norman Transcript]

Number of the Day


Number of Oklahomans who cast ballots both absentee and in-person in the Nov. 3 presidential election.

[Source: Oklahoma State Election Board]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

How many votes will be counted after election night?: Four straight U.S. presidential elections have featured a “blue shift,” in which the post-Election Day ballot count helped the Democratic Party candidate gain ground on the Republican nominee. And the GOP’s Richard Nixon twice enjoyed a “red shift” from post-Election Day vote counting. A study co-authored by an MIT political scientist quantifies this effect by state, analyzes its causes, and shows why the 2020 election might indeed be decided after Nov. 3. [MIT]

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David Hamby has more than 25 years of experience as an award-winning communicator, including overseeing communication programs for Oklahoma higher education institutions and other organizations. Before joining OK Policy, he was director of public relations for Rogers State University where he managed the school’s external communication programs and served as a member of the president’s leadership team. He served in a similar communications role for five years at the University of Tulsa. He also has worked in communications roles at Oklahoma State University and the Fort Smith Chamber of Commerce in Arkansas. He joined OK Policy in October 2019.

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