The Norman Transcript

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November 8, 2012

Provisional ballots key to race

(Continued)

NORMAN —

Many of the provisional ballots are a result of women who married and changed their names but failed to update their voting registration to show that change, voting officials said.

Those votes should count once the registration is verified. The new state ID law requires that voters show proof of ID, and the name on the ID must match the name the voter is registered under.

In other cases, voters forgot to bring an ID and were allowed to cast a provisional ballot.

The votes have to be counted and the election certified by 5 p.m. Friday, Williams said.

Absentee ballots that were being counted late Tuesday night and into the wee hours Wednesday morning shifted the election in Stiles’ direction. Mail-in absentee votes netted Stiles 389 absentee votes, or nearly 53 percent, while Roberts received 348 votes, or just more than 47 percent.

Early voters favored Roberts with 755 votes, or nearly 58 percent, to Stiles’ 553 votes, or 42 percent.

During regular voting, Stiles captured 5,855, or nearly 51 percent, of the vote to Roberts’ 5,665, which is just more than 49 percent.

“We could look at a recount,” Roberts said. “Right now, we’re just looking at the provisional ballots and how many of those are provisional and need to be counted.”

Historically, it is not unusual for District 45 races to have a narrow margin. The district’s registration contains about 9,000 Democrats, 8,600 Republicans and 3,000 independent voters.

“It’s always been close. My first two races I won by 200 votes or so,” said Wallace Collins, who had the seat on four separate occasions. His largest victory was around 900 votes in 2008. Stiles defeated Collins two years later.

“It’s competitive and always a tight race,” Collins said.

As Oklahoma has become a Democrat-hostile environment, tensions inside the more liberal community of Norman continue to keep things interesting — at least in District 45.

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