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Voter registration spike follows state Election Board deal

December 19, 2018

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The number of people registering to vote at Oklahoma’s public service agencies has spiked in recent years, and voting rights advocates are crediting a settlement with the state Election Board.

The Oklahoman reports that the 2015 settlement was reached after state and national organization threatened to sue unless the board did more to help register potential voters at public offices, as required under federal law. Those offices included the Department of Human Services, the Department of Health and the Oklahoma Health Care Authority.

Since then, the average number of monthly voter registrations from the agencies has tripled, from less than 500 per month to almost 1,500 per month, according to state election data.

Voter registration forms are now offered with public assistance applications, and a worker at each agency is responsible for coordinating registration resources.

Paul Ziriax, who leads the Oklahoma State Election Board, said cooperation from state agencies made the settlement possible.

“I am proud of the increases we have seen in voter registration in Oklahoma, and we thank the county election boards, the state’s public assistance agencies and other voter registration agencies for their efforts in helping us to fulfill the mandates” of the National Voter Registration Act.

Brenda Wright is a senior adviser for legal strategies at Demos, a national public policy organization that helped lead the settlement. She also praised the increase in voter registration.

“By implementing a comprehensive plan for voter registration services at these agencies across the state, Oklahoma has exemplified the NVRA’s principle and promise: States must do their part to bring all Americans into our democracy,” Wright said.

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Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com

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