The Norman Transcript


April 6, 2013

Despite big campaign spending, city elections suffer low turnout



In the 2012 city elections, 1,238 people cast ballots in the Ward 4 city council race. Ward 4 is traditionally a high turnout race. Ward 3 turnout, despite pouring rain, topped that, as did voting in Ward 5.

Hall said she believed the election was the best turnout Ward 3 has seen.

Ward 3’s Precinct 27, which votes at Brookhaven Baptist Church, 4301 Country Club Terrace, had the highest percentage of voter turnout at 29.44 percent of the 2,500 eligible voters casting 736 ballots in the mayor’s race. Precinct 27 was one of five precincts Sherman won.

Sherman carried precincts 27, 35, 53, 73 and 91. Of those, 27, 53 and 73 are in Ward 3.

Ward 5 also had decent numbers with 1,385 votes cast. Incumbent Dave Spaulding, 583 votes, lost to challenger Lynne Miller, 802 votes, in that ward.

Ward 7 was the closest city ward race with Stephen Tyler Holman winning 218 votes to incumbent Linda Lockett’s 191 votes. With only 409 total votes cast in the Ward 7 race, it was the lowest Norman ward turnout overall.

Ward 1 also had low turnout with incumbent Roger Gallagher, 289 votes, falling to challenger Greg Heiple, 425 votes, for a total 714 votes cast in that ward.

With the dust settled on the race, two official ethics complaints have been filed, one directly related to the election and both leveled at Council member Tom Kovach who served as a professional consultant for Sherman during the election.

A complaint filed by Norman resident Mary Francis alleges that Kovach violated the city’s ethics code forbidding city council members from using their offices to endorse or oppose another city candidate. Kovach maintains his professional services, which were paid for out of campaign funds and reported as required, do not constitute an endorsement or a use of his office to promote another candidate.

An additional ethics complaint was filed by Ben Alpers and alleges that Kovach violated executive session protections by alerting the press to the existence of a memo written by the mayor.

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