State, OG&E Provide Update on Yesterday’s Polling Site Power Efforts
Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security
Date: November 4, 2020
Officials announced that all polling locations were able to stay open on Tuesday despite ongoing power outages caused by last week’s ice storm thanks to a partnership between the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (ODEMHS), the State Election Board, Oklahoma Corporation Commission, OG&E and numerous impacted electric cooperatives.
The agencies worked together to monitor the sites throughout the day via contact with County Election Boards, social media and other methods. While there were a limited number of outages that occurred, OG&E responded immediately and worked to restore power or provide a generator for each site as quickly as possible.
OG&E Director of Corporate Affairs Brian Alford stated, “We are pleased the election ran smoothly, with polling stations across our service area able to accommodate in-person voters. The coordination with the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security was invaluable, and we commend the department for their service and efforts. We also commend our operations department and line crews for their efforts to ensure polling stations had power throughout yesterday, including their collaboration with ODEMHS to provide generators and provide responsive support throughout the day. All our crews are focused today on restoring power to customers.”
Governor Kevin Stitt praised the team for the coordinated effort.
"I am proud of ODEMHS, the State Election Board, OG&E, the local co-ops and our volunteer poll workers who united together to ensure Oklahomans could participate in a safe and secure election," said Governor Kevin Stitt. "This is not an easy task in the wake of a severe ice storm, but these teams were able to quickly identify and respond to any power outages or challenges at polling locations and make sure Election Day across the state of Oklahoma was a success."
“We are extremely pleased with the collaboration and support we received from the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management and OG&E to make yesterday’s election a success,” said Paul Ziriax, Secretary of the State Election Board. “Considering this was a Presidential General Election conducted during a pandemic, one week after a major ice storm, with a record level of voter participation it went smoothly. I’m grateful to our county election officials, poll workers, and staff for their perseverance, professionalism and dedication to free and fair elections.”
“A big part of emergency management is bringing the right people to the table, working together, and solving problems,” said Mark Gower, ODEMHS Director. “We are fortunate to have a highly experienced network of response partners that we work with in both disaster and non-disaster times and this project was no different. I am thankful for the hard-working professionals at the State Election Board, OG&E and our many rural electric cooperatives for coming together for this effort.”
The State Election Board noted that when power losses occurred, voting was not interrupted due to the state’s paper ballot system.