[Oklahoma City, OK, February 10, 2016] Yesterday, the nation’s first primary was held in New Hampshire but on Tuesday, March 1st, voters registered as Independent or no-party will be able to vote for a presidential nominee for the first time ever in Oklahoma. Oklahoma’s presidential primary falls on Super Tuesday along with nine other states’ primaries, two states with Democrat and Republican caucuses, three Republican caucuses, American Samoa Democratic caucuses, and Democrats Abroad primary selection.
This past July, the Oklahoma Democratic Party voted to open up the Democratic Primaries to Independent voters. Historically, only those voters registered with either of the two major parties have had the privilege of showing their support for a presidential-nominee candidate.
Independent voters are the fastest growing group of voters in Oklahoma and across the country. “It just makes sense that if we expect our elected officials to represent their entire constituencies, regardless of individual political affiliation of the voter, that the quarter-of-a-million Oklahoma voters who don’t identify with the traditional two-party system have the opportunity to choose not just a general election candidate but a nominee as well,” said Mark Hammons, Oklahoma Democratic Party Chair.
“Opponents of open or semi-open primaries, including the Oklahoma Republican Party, continue to argue that this step will dilute the base of our party or is a ‘hail-mary’ move to sway more voters our way come the General Election. Neither of these theories are the intent of what we are trying to accomplish. With more than three-fifths of eligible voters in Oklahoma choosing to sit-out elections, apathy with the two-party system continues to grow and this is the time to be inclusive not exclusive. It does not benefit Oklahoma to eliminate people from the election process.”
An individual must be registered to vote at least 24 days prior to election day. Young voters who will be 18 on or before election day may register to vote 24-60 days prior.