With State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister’s switch from Republican to Democratic Party registration on October 7 and former Senator Dr. Ervin Yen’s switch from GOP to Independent on October 19, I thought it would be a good time to look at voter registration in Oklahoma.
As I stated in my previous post about Supt. Hofmeister’s announcement, until 2014 Democrats had always held the majority of voter registration in Oklahoma. Republicans took the lead in voter registration after Hofmeister’s entry into the race for State Superintendent against GOP incumbent Janet Baressi.
I was surprised when I compared voter registration numbers as of January 15, 2021 to those as of October 1, 2021.
Total registration fell from 2,272,252 to 2,197,574. That’s a drop of 74,678.
The only political party that gained in that time was Libertarian. They gained 1,482 registrations going from 15,734 to 17,216.
Republicans lost 26,354 voters going from 1,138,947 to 1,112,593.
Democrats lost 49,761 voters dropping from 748,222 to 698,461.
Independents lost only 45 voters going from 369,349 to 369,304.
I reached out to Misha Mohr, the public information officer with the State Election Board. She pointed me to several valuable pieces of information regarding voter registration in Oklahoma.
On April 16 of this year the Election Board issued a news release which stated, “The State Election Board completed its routine, statutorily-mandated, biennial voter list maintenance on Thursday, April 15. The process removed 4,034 duplicate voter registrations and 110,973 inactive voter registrations from Oklahoma’s voter rolls.”
So with this additional information I decided to look up the voter registration numbers by party after the April 15 purge.
Interestingly from April 30, 2021 to October 1, 2021 Republicans gained 13,175 voters, Libertarians gained 1,063 voters, Democrats lost 836 voters and Independents gained the most with an increase of 16,707 voters.
In his announcement yesterday that he was switching his registration Dr. Yen said, “I have had several friends who have recently changed their registrations from Republican to Independent. I invite like-minded Republicans across the state to do what I have done. I hope and pray that there are a significant number of other Republicans, like myself, who will unregister as Republicans and truly move our state forward instead of backward.”
Dr Yen also said, “The Oklahoma GOP has left me. Seemingly, every other day, I receive a communication from the Party being rabidly opposed to mask mandates as well as Covid-19 vaccine mandates. The majority of the Republican Party also seems to believe that the Presidential election was stolen from our former President. I vehemently disagree with these views and that is why I have withdrawn my Republican voter registration. I have not changed, the Party has.”
In an interview with the Tulsa World Supt. Hofmeister said something similar insinuating it was the Republican Party that changed not her.
Supt. Hofmeister told the Tulsa World, “My loyalty is to Oklahoma families, not to structures or party. I am changing parties, but I haven’t changed who I am. I have the same values, and they haven’t changed.”
It will be interesting to see if the numbers for registration by party make significant changes over the next few weeks or months. Will registered Republicans who are pro-science and anti-misinformation, pro-education and not anti-tribal sovereignty follow the leads of Hofmeister and Yen?
If I remember to check, I’ll update these numbers in the months ahead.