In 2016 the voters of precinct 1 in Oklahoma City perfectly split their votes: 345 each for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
Four years later, casting ballots amid a public health crisis and in one of the most consequential elections in recent memories, voters remain divided.
Differing opinions are particularly strong for the president.
“His policies are great,” said James Gehling, a Republican who voted for Trump in 2016 and again Tuesday.
“I want to see President Trump back in office,” agreed Carrie Sites, 60.
For the flip side, there are voters like Mae Gordon, a 53-year-old Democrat.
“Leadership is leadership,” she said. “If you’re going to lead a healthy country you’ve got to treat everybody fairly.”
And plenty of other voters who fall more toward the middle.
“I bought all of Trump’s books,” said Jerome Pollard, 42. “I was pretty fond of him so, of course, I voted for him (in 2016). He was a real talented individual and I was disappointed the way he took the country.”
Pollard, an electrical engineering student and who retired from the U.S. Navy, said this time around, he voted for the candidate he believes would unite the country more: Joe Biden.
Registered independent voters, like Pollard, are more prevalent in precinct 1 — nearly 24%, compared to 19% countywide, and 16% statewide. Precinct 1 is a square patch of far western Oklahoma County, from Rockwell Avenue to MacArthur Boulevard between NW 10th to NW 23rd.
One thing many voters agreed on was the importance of participating in the voting process.
Julon White, 19, and his sister Venicesa White, 18, cast their first ballots together on Tuesday.
“This year, especially, is an important year to vote because there are so many issues,” said Julon White, a sophomore at Vanderbilt University. “I’m really excited to make my voice heard.”
Their dad, Julon White Sr., said the family talked politics around the dinner table regularly, but he encouraged the teens to research the issues for themselves and vote their conscience.
“‘If you stand for nothing, you fall for anything.’ That’s what my dad said all the time,” Venicesa White said.
Another thing voters at precinct 1 agreed on: They’ll be relieved when the barrage of political ads is over.
“Whatever happens today, I’m just glad it will be over,” said Gehling.
Jennifer Palmer contributed to this story. She has been a reporter with Oklahoma Watch since 2016 and covers education. Contact her at (405) 761-0093 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @jpalmerOKC
MORE ELECTion COVErAGE
Experts are planning for a return — and in some cases, an expansion — of the Obama-era energy and climate strategy.
As coronavirus cases continue to surge across the state, social distancing and isolation become increasingly important. But the precautions that protect our physical health are damaging the mental health of many Oklahomans, said Terri White, Chief Executive Officer of Mental Health Association Oklahoma. White served as commissioner for the state Department of Mental Health and […]
One of the Oklahoma City metro area’s largest school districts estimates an upcoming loss in state aid equivalent to 50 teacher salaries.