Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Open Door Policy - August 4, 2008

This past week, we saw the party primary elections in Oklahoma come and go without much interest. I made sure to cast my vote early so as not to get too busy on election day and miss it. Oklahoma is one of the states that makes it easy to vote and ensures your vote will count. In our state, you can vote absentee through the mail, you can vote at the county courthouse on Friday, Saturday and Monday before the election. You, of course, can also vote the old-fashioned way at your polling place (which I can say is run by three wonderful ladies in my hometown). Also, you have the right to cast a vote even if there might might a problem with your registration thanks to the provisionary ballot status that allows for a verification from the state to ensure the registration is accurate (I authored this law several years ago to make sure no voters are disenfranchised).
There were several interesting races around the state, which included many county offices, a few legislative races and the primary race for U.S. Senate. There was a sharp decline in interest by the voters for this election, and depending on who you ask, the hot weather, gas prices, or just disinterest kept voters away from this decision-making.
I had the chance to serve as a commentator on the elections at OETA on election night and saw the returns as they came in. I was surprised to see that we had the lowest recorded statewide vote since 1952, with only about 328,000 voters, or just over 17 percent of the registered voters, taking opportunity of their right to vote.
We have a primary runoff coming up on August 26th, though many areas of the state will not have a race in their area. The general election will be on November 4th, and the State Election Board expects a high turnout due to interest in races at all levels, including the Presidential election. I hope each of you that has the right will take advantage and vote in the upcoming races. After what I saw from my recent trip, the best way people have a voice in their government is to send the best candidates to the elected office. We need more good people elected to do the best job possible of representing the people, whichever office it might be.
It was a busy week outside the elections as Cyril had their rodeo this past weekend and Anadarko has their Indian Exposition going on this week. I also had the chance to attend the arts show for students at the Museum of the Great Plains and also the engagement party on Saturday of Katherine English, the granddaughter of Ada Mae English of Rush Springs. Ada Mae was the first Watermelon Queen of Rush Springs, which leads into my invitation to each of you to attend the Rush Springs Watermelon Festival on Saturday, especially the seed-spitting contest at noon. It will be a great time as always! There is also a tackle show on Friday and Saturday in Duncan with Karl White, an antique tackle appraiser at the Stephens County Fairgrounds that will attract a lot of our local fishermen.
It is an honor to represent your views at the State Capitol. If you wish to contact me and discuss one of these or another issue, I can be reached at my office in Oklahoma City toll-free at 1-800-522-8502, or directly at 1-405-557-7305. My e-mail address is joedorman@okhouse.gov at work. My mailing address is PO Box 559, Rush Springs, OK 73082 and my website is http://www.joedorman.com/ on the Internet. Thank you for taking time to read this column and I look forward to seeing you soon.

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