Political Parties Notify Election Board Secretary About “Open” Primaries

Beverly Cantrell - December 4, 2021 11:39 am

(Oklahoma City) – Every odd-numbered year, recognized political parties in Oklahoma are required to notify the Secretary of the State Election Board whether or not the party will allow registered Independents to vote in its primary elections.

State Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax announced Friday that he has been notified by the Oklahoma Democratic Party that it will allow Independents to vote in its primaries in 2022 and 2023.

The Oklahoma Libertarian Party notified Secretary Ziriax that it will close its primaries to Independent voters. The Oklahoma Republican Party did not send a notification to the Secretary, which by law means that Independents cannot vote in Republican primaries.

“This means, there is no change for unaffiliated voters in 2022. As was the case in 2020 and 2021, Independent voters may vote in Democratic Party primaries, but not in Republican or Libertarian primaries,” Ziriax said.

Oklahoma is a closed primary state, meaning only registered voters affiliated with a recognized political party may vote in that party’s primary elections. However, state law gives recognized parties the option to open its primaries to registered Independents by notifying the Secretary of the State Election Board between November 1 and November 30 of odd-numbered years.

Under state law, because the Oklahoma Democratic Party decided to allow Independents to vote in its primaries, the deadline has been extended to December 15 for Libertarians and Republicans to make a final decision about allowing Independents to vote in their primaries.

Independent voters are not required to vote a Democratic primary ballot. Independent voters who would like to vote a Democratic primary ballot must request one when voting in person or when applying for an absentee ballot. Voters who have already requested absentee ballots for the 2022 election year can update their absentee ballot request online using the OK Voter Portal.

For more information on elections and voter registration in Oklahoma, visit our website at: oklahoma.gov/elections.

 

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