OK schools help increase voter turnout

ARDMORE, Okla. (KXII) - Oklahoma election officials say early voting turnout this year was more than double the 2014 midterm election.

The board tweeted results showing that as of Monday morning over 58,000 Oklahomans have voted by mail and over 107,000 voted early - a total of over 165,000 votes cast before Tuesday's general election.

Schools across Oklahoma like Ada, Byng and Coalgate are giving teachers and students the day off to go vote.

While Ardmore City Schools is staying open, teachers like Bryce Bell helped young voters Thursday by giving them a ride to the polls during lunch.

"It was neat to see them for the first time and see that they were nervous," U.S. Government and History teacher Bell said. "Even though it's not a pressurized situation, it's new, it's different and exciting for them."

An experience that first time voter Kaitlyn Moore says she'll remember as a milestone in her life.

"It feels like the younger generations don't have a say - and shouldn't get a say - and like our vote isn't counted and it isnt valued as much," Moore said. "So the school taking us to vote definitely encouraged me and showed that my vote does count."

Bell says while they only took a few students to the polls, about 15 seniors in his class filled out absentee ballots.

Carter County election board says they've had over 1,700 people show up in person to vote this past weekend - more than double the amount that came out in 2014.

"We care about what they think and encourage them to be active and not say 'oh, it's not going to matter because I'm just one person' everyone needs to go do their part," Bell said.

"Even if you are one vote out of hundreds or thousands it still matters because one vote can make the difference," Moore said.

Polls open Tuesday at 7 a.m.

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