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Joe Biden Wins Oklahoma Democratic Primary, Liquor Sales Measures Pass, OKC Parks Proposition Fails

Updated 10:27 p.m.

The Oklahoma State Election Board is now reporting 100 percent of the precincts in the state.

With 38 percent of the vote, Joe Biden has won the Oklahoma primary election. He’s followed by Bernie Sanders with 25 percent, who won the Oklahoma Democratic primary in 2016 by 18 points.

Mike Bloomberg and Elizabeth Warren both failed to pick up delegates with 13 percent each. Tulsi Gabbard garnered less than two percent of the vote, finishing behind Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg, both of which bowed out of the race in recent days.

President Donald Trump unsurprisingly locked up the Republican primary in Oklahoma, with 92 percent of the vote. Compared to 2016, voter turnout was down by about 25 percent.

All seven counties voting on liquor sales on Sundays approved the measure. Beginning as early as this Sunday, liquor stores in those counties — Oklahoma, Tulsa, Cleveland, Creek, Kingfisher, Muskogee and Washington — will be allowed to be open.

Payne County voters approved a measure to allow restaurants to serve hard liquor and strong beer on Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Kingfisher County voters also passed liquor-by-the-drink.

The Oklahoma City sales tax measure to fund maintainance and improvements at the city's 169 municipal parks has failed, with 52 percent voting against the measure.

County election boards meet Friday to certify results and the State Election Board meets Tuesday, March 10 to certify the Presidential Primary results. Results are unofficial until certified.

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Updated 5:22 p.m.

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Credit Kateleigh Mills / KOSU
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Democratic voters Donna and Bill Black (left) and Republican voter Richard Foster (right) outside their polling station in Norman, Okla.

Republican Richard Foster voted this morning  at Faith Point Baptist Church in Norman which is in Cleveland County, one of the seven counties deciding whether to allow the sale of liquor on Sundays. He says he voted yes on that measure, as well as voting for President Donald Trump - just as he did in 2016.

“I think he’s a great fit for our country right now and he’s exactly what we need. I think he’s really helping the economy and I like what he stands for and how he acts.”

Bill and Donna Black also voted today. They are both registered Democrats and say their decisions were influenced by both Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar suspending their campaigns. Both of them said they voted for Biden.

“I feel like he’s got some experience working in Federal government and knows his way around Washington D.C. and I don’t feel like he’ll embarrass us.”

Super Tuesday is the biggest primary day, with more than 1,300 delegates up for grabs as fourteen states - including Oklahoma - and one territory cast their vote today.

Polls close tonight at 7 p.m.

Updated 3:42 p.m.

KOSU’s Chelsea Stanfield spoke with voters outside their local polling station in Perkins, Oklahoma.

Connie Christopher, a life-long Oklahoma Democrat, said her choice for President was an easy one..

“Elizabeth Warren, of course. She has the best plan to provide for the average American, to take down the ‘big money’ to a level where they can succeed, but where the money will trickle up because people at the bottom will be able to survive.”

Bobi Roush grew up in a Republican-voting family, but registered as a Democrat in 2008 initially to vote for Barack Obama before choosing John McCain at the voting booth.

“Donald Trump has done a marvelous job. I’m a born-again Christian and what I say to Christian people is, ‘We’re not electing a pastor in chief we’re electing someone who is a commander in chief.’”

She is supporting Donald Trump with her vote, as well as a sign on her dog kennel.

Updated: 2:56 p.m.

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Credit Kateleigh Mills / KOSU
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Republican voter Glenda Bliss (left) and Democratic voter Marie Gately (right) outside their polling station in Edmond, Okla. on March 3, 2020.

Voters at First Baptist Church of Edmond are picking their preferred Presidential candidate today, as well as voting on a measure that would allow the sale of liquor on Sundays.

Marie Gately identifies as a Democrat and says she voted for someone she believes can unite the political parties and work across party lines.

“I think we’ve gotten too far out on ‘I’m a Democrat, I’m a Republican’ not what’s best for whatever situation we’re looking at.”

Republican voter Glenda Bliss says she got out to vote today thanks to a text reminding her that Republicans had a ballot today. She voted for President Donald Trump - just as she did in 2016.

“Well he’s done with everything that he’s said he was going to do - with the troops, with everything.”

Bliss also says she voted no to allow the sale of liquor on Sundays because she doesn’t like alcohol in general and that having it available wouldn’t make a difference to her.

Polls are open until 7 p.m.

ORIGINAL POST:

Democratic candidates for President are vying for Oklahoma's 37 delegates today, as Oklahoma is one of 14 states voting on Super Tuesday.

Polls are open until 7 p.m. tonight, as Oklahomans vote for their preferred Presidential candidate and some Oklahomans will cast their ballot on liquor sales on Sundays and funding parks in Oklahoma City.

KOSU will carry live special coverage of the Super Tuesday primaries, beginning at 6 p.m. See all the details here.

Who's on the ballot?

Oklahomans are voting today to pick a Presidential candidate. Democrats and Independents are facing a list of 14 possible candidates, although many of those have since suspended or ended their campaigns, including Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg and Tom Steyer in recent days.

Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Mike Bloomberg, Elizabeth Warren and Tulsi Gabbard are all still vying for the Democratic nomination. Sanders won the Oklahoma primary over Hillary Clinton in 2016 by 18 points.

President Donald Trump is on the Republican ticket against five unknown challengers, but is expected to win an overwhelming majority of the vote.

View a sample ballot and find your polling place here.

Liquor on Sundays

Voters in seven Oklahoma counties are deciding whether to allow the sale of liquor on Sundays. If approved, liquor stores in Oklahoma, Cleveland, Tulsa, Creek, Kingfisher, Muskogee and Washington counties could be open this Sunday.

Grocery and convenience stores in Oklahoma are already selling alcohol on Sundays, so liquor store advocates want to level the playing field. Retail Liquor Association President Brian Kerr says Oklahoma is currently losing an average of three retail liquor stores every month, and this might be able to help some of the struggling businesses.

The decision to open on Sundays will be left to individual stores in the counties which pass the ballot measure today.

Funding Oklahoma City Parks

Oklahoma City voters are deciding today on a ballot measure to fund parks. The one-eighth-cent sales tax created through an initiative petition would raise about $13 million for the city's 169 municipal parks not privately-funded.

Proponents of the measure say the money would help with maintenance, improvements, and programming like athletic leagues and classes.

Former Councilman Pete White says, unlike past MAPS projects, this would be a boost to all the people in Oklahoma City no matter where they live.

"The people in south Oklahoma City always say, ‘we don’t get our share’. And, the people in northeast Oklahoma City, ‘we don’t get our share’. The people in far southwest Oklahoma City, ‘we don’t get our share,’" said White. "Everybody gets a share of this. Every section of town, everybody gets to play."

The 50 percent increase in funding would come even as the city manager is calling on the Parks and Recreation Department to cut next year’s budget nearly $400,000 dollars.

Opponents have spent tens of thousands of dollars in ads saying this proposal is too secretive, but White says it’s only because grass-roots backers don’t have the funding to promote it. He says it has been supported by current and former city council members, the south Chamber of Commerce, the neighborhood alliance, the Sierra Club and the Realtors Association.

Early Voting Numbers Similar To 2016

Early voting and vote by mail numbers from the Oklahoma State Election Board from Tuesday morning show that, so far, turnout is similar to the 2016 Presidential Preferential election.

More than 22,000 Oklahomans have voted by mail, and approximately 31,000 people voted early, making a total of about 53,000 votes cast so far. In 2016, the early turnout was just a few hundred less.

Early voting ended Saturday. Mail ballots must be received by county election boards by 7 p.m. today, so these numbers will change.

More than 48 percent of those who have already cast a ballot are registered Democrats, and about 45 percent are registered Republicans.

Ryan LaCroix is the Director of Content and Audience Development for KOSU.
Kateleigh Mills returned to KOSU in December 2019 as Special Projects Reporter, following a year-long stint at KWBU in Waco, Texas.
Michael Cross is the host of KOSU's Morning Edition.
Chelsea Stanfield joined KOSU in March 2022 as Membership Specialist.
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