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Oklahoma voting rose last year among all age groups

Voters cast their ballots at Crown Heights Christian Church in Oklahoma City earlier this year. [Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]
Voters cast their ballots at Crown Heights Christian Church in Oklahoma City earlier this year. [Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]

Voting in Oklahoma rose dramatically last year compared to the 2014 midterm elections, and the youngest age groups showed up at the polls at nearly twice the rate, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

With competitive races for governor, the Oklahoma City-area congressional seat and numerous legislative seats, Oklahoma’s citizen voting rate jumped to 49% in November, up from 34% in November 2014.

The Census Bureau bases its voting rates on the percentage of the voting age population — rather than the percentage of registered voters — who went to the polls.

Oklahoma’s voting age population in 2018 was nearly 2.9 million; of that, 62 percent were registered voters, according to the Census Bureau. The estimates have a margin of error of plus or minus 3%.

Nationally, the citizen voting rate in 2018 was 53%. That was the highest midterm voting rate in four decades, while 2014 was the lowest, according to the bureau.

Despite the major increase, Oklahoma ranked among the bottom 10 states last year in turnout.

The voting rate among women in Oklahoma rose to 49% last year, up from 34% in 2014. An estimated 45% of men voted in November, up from 30% four years before.

Voting rates rose among all five age groups measured by the Census Bureau. In Oklahoma, 21% of people between 18 and 24 showed up to vote in November, compared to just 11% in 2014. In the 25 to 34 age group, 38% of people voted, up from 19.5% four years earlier.

The voting rate among people 35 to 44 rose to 40%, from 26%; the rate for those 45 to 64 rose to 53%, from 39%; and the rate for those 65 and older rose to 64%, from 53%.

Earlier this year, Oklahoma State Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax said the state had the highest number of registered voters following a gubernatorial election since the board began recording statistics in 1960.

“Our state saw a big increase in voter engagement in 2018, and I am hopeful that this trend will continue through 2019 and into the 2020 elections,” Ziriax said.

Chris Casteel

Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. Casteel covered the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City. From 1990 through 2016, he was the... Read more ›