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Oklahoma is not alone. Uncontested races are a growing trend nationwide

Xcaret Nuñez / KOSU

Before Oklahoma voters cast their ballots for primaries on June 18, more than a third of the legislative offices are already decided. Uncontested races are a trend nationwide, especially in Republican-led states.

Fifty of the 127 seats in the House and Senate have already been won, accounting for 40 percent of legislative elections in Oklahoma this year.

And it’s too late for anyone to oppose those running for their district uncontested. The official candidate filing period ended back in early April.

Oklahoma is not the only state where some public office hopefuls — and people wanting to keep their elected positions — are running without a contest, according to an analysis by the national elections-tracking nonprofit Ballotpedia.

Ballotpedia has tracked 242 elections in Oklahoma so far at the state and local levels, and according to the nonprofit’s analysis, 53 of them, or 22 percent, were uncontested. Other states that have seen a similar number of elections have seen even fewer candidates see competition.

In West Virginia, of 258 races tracked, 76 percent of them were one-person affairs. In Nebraska, Ballotpedia analysts looked at 137 races and found that 71.7 percent were uncontested. In Texas, where 1,333 races were followed, 69 percent of them didn’t involve any contest.

Nationally, the nonprofit has tracked almost 20,000 elections in 47 states through May, and 72 percent of them have been uncontested. Oklahoma, so far, has seen more competition in its elections than most states this year.

Still, for every race, only one person is hoping to win; a certain size constituency is not getting to choose who represents them.

For House and Senate Districts in Oklahoma, that amounts to about 40,000 to 80,000 voters per district not casting a ballot with their choice of state-level lawmakers checked off this November.

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Lionel Ramos covers state government at KOSU. He joined the station in January 2024.
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