Oklahoma voters decide on Medicaid expansion, several primaries

TULSA — Voters in Oklahoma were evenly split on whether they're ready for Medicaid expansion to become the law in the state, as State Question 802 turned into the only major horse race in the June 2020 primary and special election.

With some results still trickling in late Tuesday night, it appeared SQ802 would pass by about a one percent margin, or roughly 6,000 votes.

The measure enshrines expanded healthcare coverage in the constitution in a state where lawmakers fought for years to keep a larger Medicaid program from going into effect.

It passed, but by a razor-thin margin, after jumping to an early lead as results came in from the larger, urban areas of Tulsa and Oklahoma City.

[CLICK HERE to hear our In-Depth Report on election day in Oklahoma with KRMG's Russell Mills]

The rural vote quickly whittled away at that lead, despite the argument from proponents of 802 that rural healthcare in particular suffers from a lack of funding in the state.

Meanwhile, Tulsa's hometown Republicans fared well in Tuesday's federal primaries, with Senator Jim Inhofe and Congressman Markwayne Mullin both easily advancing to the November general election.

Inhofe will face Democrat Abby Broyles, a former journalist who hopes to provide a competitive race in a largely conservative state.

In the Oklahoma 1st Congressional District, Kevin Hern was unopposed in the primary and advances automatically.

A hotly-contested GOP primary in Oklahoma's 5th Congressional District saw Terry Neese leading, but without a clear majority - which will force an August 25th runoff in that primary.

Kendra Horn, the incumbent in the 5th District and the only Democrat in the state's federal delegation, easily advanced to the general election in the fall.

Voting by mail certainly became a popular option for voters in the June, 2020 primary, with a pandemic raging as Oklahomans prepared to head to the polls.

Tulsa County Election Board Secretary Gwen Freeman told KRMG Monday the volume of mail-in ballots was roughly five times what it was in the June primary four years ago.

Still, local precincts saw steady - at times, brisk - traffic throughout the day as people also lined up to vote in person.

Some voters found themselves in the wrong location, because Tulsa County for example had to move 34 precincts because they weren't available, for example those located at senior centers.

But of 262 precincts in the county, roughly 240 had volunteers and locations ready to receive voters when the polls opened Tuesday morning.

The election board reported a couple of problems with locked doors, and at least one precinct captain who accidentally slept too late.

But despite social distancing and sanitation requirements, the process went fairly quickly for most voters KRMG spoke with during the course of the day.

You can see the unofficial results on the State of Oklahoma Election Board website.

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