Oklahomans can be confident their vote in the June 28 primary election was counted correctly.

The Oklahoma State Election Board completed its first post-election audit on July 28. Thirty county election boards were instructed to tabulate a sample of ballots from one race. Three election boards counted results from two races.

There was no discrepancy between the manual audit totals and the certified election results, the election board reported early last week.

“Oklahoma has one of the most accurate and secure voting systems in the entire world,” Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax said in a statement. “These post-election audits and the three recounts that followed the June 28 primary elections are the latest in a long line of evidence of that.”

Officials identified two issues that did not affect the election results. In Caddo County, a spoiled ballot was not disposed of properly. A provisional ballot cast in Osage County was incorrectly categorized as an Election Day vote.

With bipartisan support, Oklahoma lawmakers passed a bill in 2019 authorizing the state election board to conduct post-election audits. State election officials planned to begin audits in 2020 but were delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Oklahoma is one of 34 states that authorize some kind of post-election audit. Experts say the evaluations often allow officials to identify and fix any issues before the Primary Election and boost public confidence in the electoral process.

Post-election audits differ from recounts in a few key areas. Audits are generally conducted regardless of how close a particular race was and only a small percentage of ballots are recounted. For example, Comanche County election officials manually counted 354 votes cast in the Republican primary for governor. 

By state law, the audit totals cannot be used to change an election outcome.

The election board plans to conduct additional audits following the Aug. 23 runoff and Nov. 8 general election date.

Have democracy-related questions or comments? Send me a DM on Twitter or email me at kross@Oklahomawatch.org

What I’m Reading

  • Anti-Corruption PAC Clean Up Oklahoma Largely Funded by Dark Money Group: Clean Up Oklahoma received $226,000 from the social welfare group Oklahoma’s Children, Our Future Inc. The PAC received just received $852 from other donors, according to a campaign finance report filed Sunday. [The Oklahoman]
  • Pennsylvania Billionaire’s PAC Continues to Fuel Oklahoma Congressional Campaign: Pennsylvania businessman Jeff Yass, one of the nation’s largest political donors, has poured more than a million dollars into the Oklahoma 2nd Congressional District race. [Tulsa World]
  • Senate debate: Mullin, Shannon Pitch National Abortion Ban, Differ on Ukraine: The two remaining candidates vying for the GOP nomination for outgoing U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe’s seat said the 2020 election was stolen, supported an abortion ban with no exceptions and clashed over aid to Ukraine. [NonDoc]
  • After Kansas Abortion Rights Victory, Could an Oklahoma State Question be Next? Kansans overwhelmingly rejected a ballot measure that would have allowed the state’s GOP-led Legislature to restrict abortion or ban the procedure outright. Republican state lawmakers considered a similar question this year but ultimately did not refer the measure to the statewide ballot. [The Oklahoman]

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Tweet Watch

A four-word tweet from the chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party generated plenty of reactions last week. 

AJ Ferate, who was elected as party chair in May, spoke out against baseless claims of widespread election fraud made by Republican U.S. Senate candidates TJ Shannon and Markwayne Mullin in a televised debate. 

State Rep. Avery Frix, who is running as a Republican in Oklahoma’s Second Congressional District race, tweeted that Mullin and Shannon’s claims are correct and Ferate should “stand up for Trump or get out of the way.” 

Ferate responded sarcastically. 

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