MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

November 2, 2012

1,308 take part in early voting

By Wendy Burton
Phoenix Staff Writer

— Muskogee County Election Board officials said 1,308 people turned out for early voting Friday.

Those numbers put the early voting on target to at least meet the number that voted early in the 2008 election when President Barack Obama faced John McCain, said Ellen Thames, who has served as a clerk for 40 years at the election board.

Thames has seen many presidential elections and said the 2008 election was one of the biggest turnouts she ever saw.

Before 2008, Thames said she usually saw an average of 800 or so voters turn out for early voting.

The 2008 election also saw a record number of registered voters turn out in the county, according to data from the Muskogee County Election Board.

In 2008, there were 41,804 registered voters in Muskogee County. Of those, 65.62 percent, or 27,432 voted in the general election.

Obama didn’t take the popular vote in Muskogee County in 2008, with 42.49 percent compared to McCain’s 57.51 percent.

Of the 27,432 voters in the 2008 election, 35.71 percent of Republicans voted straight party, while 64.29 percent of Democrats voted straight party.

Rhonda Bemo, a clerk for 23 years with the election board, said the morning had been pretty busy, with sporadic busy moments through the day.

Though there is a large ballot this year with the sheriff’s race and several state questions in addition to the presidential race, voting moved swiftly, she said.

Early voting continues from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. today at the election board and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday.

Reach Wendy Burton at (918) 684-2926 or wburton

@muskogeephoenix.com.