Election Board secretary declares emergency

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Authorizes local entities to reschedule April 7 elections

  • Whitney Bryen/Oklahoma Watch, file Voters cast their ballots for the 2018 general election at the McClain County Election Board in Purcell.
    Whitney Bryen/Oklahoma Watch, file Voters cast their ballots for the 2018 general election at the McClain County Election Board in Purcell.
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OKLAHOMA CITY – State Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax on March 18 declared an emergency for local elections scheduled on April 7 in 74 counties, including several in southwest Oklahoma.

The emergency declaration will require county election boards to accept resolutions adopted by the governing bodies of school districts, municipalities, technology districts and counties to move their April 7 elections to another date.

Regular and statutory elections could be rescheduled on June 30, the next available election date and the date of the State Primary Election, Ziriax said. Special elections could be rescheduled for any election date allowed by law, he said. “We are in uncharted waters here, so I am hopeful we have found a sensible solution that is consistent with the spirit of the law and avoids bureaucratic overreach by state election officials,” Ziriax said.

“As Oklahoma’s chief election official, I strongly urge school districts, municipalities, technology districts and counties with April 7 elections to take immediate action to reschedule and help efforts to flatten the COVID-19 curve.” County Election Board Secretaries will reach out to the local governments holding elections in their counties to inform them of the election emergency and the option of rescheduling their April 7 elections, Ziriax said.

Elections scheduled on April 7 in southwest Oklahoma that will have to be rescheduled include: 

• Comanche County: Bishop Public School, a proposition seeking voter approval to sell $6.8 million in bonds to pay for constructing, equipping, repairing and remodeling school buildings, acquiring school furniture, fixtures and equipment, and acquiring and improving school sites; Walters Public Schools, two propositions; Snyder Public Schools, board member Office #6; and Caddo-Kiowa Technology Center, board member Office #5. 

• Caddo County: City of Anadarko, seven propositions; Anadarko, Carnegie and Binger-Oney public schools, board members Office #5; Pioneer Public School, board member Office #2; and Caddo-Kiowa Technology Center, board member Office #5. 

• Cotton County: Walters Public Schools, propositions #1 and #2.

• Greer County: Mangum, Erick and Sayre public schools, board member Office #5.

• Harmon County: Mangum and Erick public schools, board member Office #5.

• Jackson County: City of Altus, 23 propositions (that election has been pushed back, City Manager Gary Jones reported Wednesday night); and Mangum Public Schools, board member Office #5. 

• Kiowa County: Carnegie Public Schools, board member Office #5; Snyder Public Schools, board member Office #6; Sentinel Public Schools, board member Office #5; and Caddo-Kiowa Technology Center, board member Office #5. 

• Tillman County: Snyder Public Schools, board member Office #6.

• Stephens County: City of Duncan, city council Ward 2 (candidates Brad Bull and Nick Fischer); Marlow Public Schools, board member Office #5; Walters Public Schools, propositions #1 and #2; and Duncan Public Schools, propositions #1 and #2. 

Duncan school district voters will vote on a “2020 Vision” that the district has described as a “10-year student investment program” totaling $27,775,000. Proposition 1 would feature $25,775,000 in improvements to facilities and equipment, and Proposition 2 would provide $2 million for buses, minivans, Suburbans and equipment for student transportation.

Prop 1 projects would include roofing improvements, textbooks and other instructional materials, classroom equipment, technology equipment, security technology equipment, building security enhancements, school furniture, storm shelters/ safe rooms at Duncan High School, renovations to the Duncan High School auditorium, playground equipment and fencing, softball and tennis parking, HVAC, plumbing, lighting and electrical improvements; and renovations to Halliburton Stadium, such as a new concession building, new restrooms, new locker rooms, and providing better accessibility in accordance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.