Oklahoma Engaged

Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

Update: 11:18 p.m.

Republican Kevin Stitt has defeated Democrat Drew Edmondson and Libertarian Chris Powell to become Oklahoma's next governor. The Tulsa businessman is a political newcomer who largely campaigned on his business background.

With nearly 89 percent of the vote tallied, Stitt leads Edmondson as the top vote-getter by a margin of 54.7 percent to 41.9 percent.

Kateleigh Mills / KOSU

The midterm election is Tuesday and voters across Oklahoma are heading to the polls to decide on local, state and federal races. Election officials have recorded a surge people registering for the 2018 midterms.

Kateleigh Mills interviewed three different Oklahomans from very different backgrounds on why they think voting is important.

Thuan Nguyen

Oklahoma voters face five state questions when they vote this month. While this election’s state questions are not as high profile as recent ballot proposals on medical marijuana and alcohol law changes, they do present some meaningful changes in specific areas.

Video Breakdown: State Question 801

Nov 1, 2018

Our collaborative election project Oklahoma Engaged is not solely focused on informative and in-depth radio stories. We also want to strip away all extraneous information and get down to the bare bones of state questions. And to do that, we again commissioned videos from Blake Behrens of Radfive Creative.

Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Integrity, experience and a plan for change are the keys to some voters’ support in Hughes, Pontotoc and Seminole counties, which are all represented by the same district attorney’s office.

Voters in the three rural counties are set to elect a new district attorney for the first time in 28 years. Twice in the last three decades, the governor selected District 22 residents’ head prosecutor after the previous one retired.

Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

If Daryl Fisher, a supervisor at a group home for young men, could fix one thing in Oklahoma, it would be education.

“Everybody always focuses on kids,” he said in an interview at a gas station in downtown Oklahoma City. “But are we really focusing on kids when we’re opening up more jails, trying to make more room, and not educating them? Are we really focusing on them?”

Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

As the 2018 election season hits a fever pitch in Oklahoma, residents across the state are scrutinizing the credentials of the candidates. And with November 6 just three weeks away, some new political concerns are coming to light.

When Oklahoma’s public radio stations started the Oklahoma Engaged series this spring, there was one big issue center stage in Oklahoma: education.

While education is still a crucial issue, other topics are percolating. In Northeastern Oklahoma, it is again the issue of water quality.

Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

On a hot Monday afternoon, Zora Sampson stands behind rows of chairs set up in the lobby of the hospital in Pauls Valley. Sampson supports the Democratic candidate for Governor Drew Edmondson — and turned up to hear his plan to help rural hospitals.

Caroline Halter / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

John Carpenter is a yoga instructor in Choctaw. He previously worked as a probation officer, and before that he owned a construction company. And Carpenter recently organized his community’s opposition to the Eastern Oklahoma County Turnpike.

“Ultimately we didn't stop the turnpike,” Carpenter said. “But it got me politically involved.”

Now Carpenter’s trying something new once again. He’s campaigning as a Democrat to be House District 101’s next state representative.

Caroline Halter / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

Mike Couke runs the Comanche County Democratic Party out of a one-room office nestled between a laundromat and a barbershop in Lawton. This year, he’s focused on training local Democrats to make better use of voter lists ahead of the general election.

“The best way to reach voters is to knock on doors. And that's one thing the list gives you is physical addresses,” Couke said.

Larry Bush, a Democrat running for Lawton’s House District 62, sits next to him. He’s running for a second time after losing in 2016.

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